Castle & Cooke Inc. CEO David Murdock – who kept the rights to build a wind farm capable of producing up to 400 megawatts of renewable energy when he sold the majority of Lanai to Oracle Corp. CEO Larry Ellison last June – is apparently moving ahead with his plans.
Sources tell Pacific Business News that Cultural Surveys Hawaii Inc., which does archaeological cultural and historical research and field services throughout the state, has been conducting archaeological surveys in the area where the wind farm is supposed to be built.
The so-called Big Wind project, which would ship the electricity generated by wind on Lanai to Oahu via an undersea cable, would be developed on about 7,000 acres on the northwest corner of Lanai, which is known as Kaa Ahupuaa.
Once cultural and archaeological surveys are done, a next step is building access roads to the wind farm site.
Sources say Cultural Surveys Hawaii only was in the area looking at cultural resources for one day, instead of four days, which was the original plan.
That’s because they were met by protestors and residents nearby weren’t willing to let the workers stay at their homes.
However, sources say that Cultural Surveys Hawaii will be back on the island later this month to continue its work.
In January, Friends of Lanai asked the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission to revoke Castle & Cooke’s waiver from competitive bidding that was given to the company so it could build the wind farm.
Castle & Cooke has remained mum on the topic and on Wednesday declined to comment.
Cultural Surveys Hawaii could not be immediately reached for comment.
Meantime, Hawaiian Electric Co. officials see wind energy from Lanai as a viable option as the state inches toward its renewable energy goal.
Molokai’s portion of Big Wind was taken off the table last month, after landowner Molokai Properties Ltd. could not reach an agreement with developers Pattern Energy and Bio-Logical Capital.
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