Kahuku resident Tebita Kaili was out enjoying the day at Malaekahana State Park.
He has every intention of being there for Na Pua Makani’s upcoming community meeting about a new wind farm.
“I have read the environmental impact statement. I have a lot of questions I will be asking,” said Kaili.
From the highway fronting the beach park, Na PuMakani says you will be able to see the tops of five of the planned windmills, much like the First Wind project in place now.
The pushback from the Kahuku community is a result of the turbines already looming above the rural community.
They say there’s too much visual blight – too close to the road and too close to Kahuku town.
“The original proposal did have it really close to the school and homes, but the developer listened to the community when he met with them last year. And as a result, he remapped and redid the plans and put them as far back as he possibly could,” said Keoki Moore, a consultant hired by the developer.
Na Pua Makani has revamped the design six times and cannot go back any further because of restrictions in place by the military which owns land around the 700-acre parcel.
The closest homes will be on the state’s agricultural park up on the hillside.
The company said the turbines and the meteorology towers are not expected to displace any farmers.
The power produced by the 25-megawatt facility will help feed Hawaiian Electric’s grid and send it in a different direction than First Wind.
“The energy they produce goes toward Haleiwa, and we will feed towards the Kaneohe substation, so the communities of Kahuku, Laie, and Hauula will be able to use the energy that we generate,” said Na Pua Makani‘s Scott Bradshaw.
But some residents, like Kaili who support green energy, still have reservations.
Kaili says advancements with bladeless wind turbines that would be less detrimental to native bats and birds are worth a look.
“We think we should wait for this technology instead of putting in outdated technology, and we will be stuck with it for 21 years,” said Kaili.
The developer plans to have experts who worked on the EIS available to answer questions at an open house meeting set for next Tuesday, but those opposed to the project are already planning a protest.
Residents are readying their signs hoping to get the wind blowing in their direction.
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