Nearly 100 Oahu residents gathered to listen to a developer make his case for 51 wind turbines to be moored in the ocean 12 miles northwest of Kaena Point.
The Waialua Elementary cafeteria was filled Tuesday night with community members as the North Shore Neighborhood Board held a meeting to learn about the wind farm.
The proposed wind farm would be operated by AW Hawaiian Wind LLC, a subsidiary of Denmark-based Alpha Wind Energy. The proposal from Alpha Wind Energy, which includes a second farm with another 51 turbines south of Diamond Head, is still in the preliminary stage of planning.
Residents said they were concerned about how the wind farms would affect fishing as well as fairness to the community.
Blake McElheny, a Pupukea resident, said he supports renewable energy but felt that the North Shore community has been unfairly satisfying the energy demands of the entire island by hosting large-scale renewable energy projects.
“If you look at energy consumption on Oahu, w e are actually a net producer of energy,” McElheny said. “None of it goes directly to the homes. It is kind of adding insult to injury in a way. We are producing it, and it is not going to the homes.”
There are two wind farms on the North Shore, both owned by Boston-based First Wind. The 69-megawatt Kawailoa Wind project northeast of Haleiwa was completed in November 2012. The 30-megawatt Kahuku Wind farm was completed in March 2011. There is a third 24-megawatt wind project planned to be built on the North Shore. It will be located in Kahuku. The project is owned by Na Pua Makani Power Partners, a subsidiary of a Southern California wind energy development company, Champlin/ GEI Wind Holdings LLC.
The North Shore Neighborhood Board voted unanimously Tuesday to oppose the leasing of 10,000 acres of ocean for offshore windmills.
Alpha Wind Energy promised to involve the community in the process.
“I have offered to engage with anyone here … so it is a Hawaiian asset and you benefit from it. This is important, that control remains here. I am happy to offer that. I can’t guarantee the next company will,” said Jens Borsten Petersen of AW Hawaiian Wind LLC.
“I found this particular developer to be open to the community. You could meet a lot worse,” said Henry Curtis, executive director of Life of the Land, who said he was speaking as a private citizen. “There are a lot of people eyeing the ocean.”