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Information regarding Lanai wind farm to remain confidential, state agency says

A state agency has rejected a request by the Friends of Lanai that would have given the community group access to confidential information on the terms and conditions of an agreement between Oracle Corp. founder Larry Ellison and Castle & Cooke Inc. regarding a planned wind energy farm on the Pineapple Island.

When Ellison acquired 98 percent of Lanai from Castle & Cooke CEO David Murdock in 2012, the reported $300 million purchase price did not include the rights to develop the 200-megawatt portion of the so-called “Big Wind” project.

Instead, Castle & Cooke kept the rights to build the project.

This week, the Hawaii Office of Information Practices announced its decision to not allow Friends of Lanai to see the redacted agreement between Ellison and Castle & Cooke regarding the wind farm.

In its decision, the OIP noted that, “as the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission asserted, public disclosure of the redacted wind farm terms would discourage future applicants from voluntarily providing information relating to, but not in and of itself, the subject of a matter pending before PUC for its review and determination.”

The PUC is currently looking into whether an undersea cable that would connect the electric grids of Oahu, Maui and the Big Island is in the public’s interest. The cable is key to the Lanai wind farm project, which would transfer energy to Oahu.