There is already one offshore wind project proposed 17 miles off Diamond Head. The Danish company Alpha Wind announced those plans this summer.
However, KITV has learned that Progression Energy, a new player in Hawaii, is looking at a site just west of that.
The company hasn’t released a lot of detail, even though it has been shopping this around for some time. The big question for the visitor industry is, what will you see off Waikiki?
“What we are envisioning is about 400 megawatts of large scale wind far enough from Oahu so you can’t see it unless you are looking for it, but close enough to Oahu so the cost of transmission makes for a low energy cost,” said Holu Energy’s Ted Peck who is working with Progression.
Peck says it settled on an area just 16 miles off the Ala Wai with a potential view plane from Waikiki to Barbers Point.
Top tourism officials have been briefed of the general plan.
“I like any idea that will reduce the cost of electricity. That’s the biggest cost of doing business in Hawaii from a lodging perspective,” said Mufi Hannemmann, head of the Hotel and Lodging and Tourism Association.
But Hannemann also wants more specifics.
“If this is going to truly reduce our electricity costs, we can deal with environmental issues and maybe raise in our case the view plane – our visitors and residents will look out into the ocean– that it won’t be a blight. We are certainly keeping an open mind and and want to hear and learn about it,”
Hoteliers will get a chance to do just that when the company meets with them later this month.
Peck believes the floating turbines would be most visible from the air.
There are no models just yet because it wants to make sure what it rolls out to the public is an accurate representation.
Peck says the company looked at five different sites on the north shore, southeast and southwest shore before settling on this latest location.
He believes it’s the best site for energy projection with the least impact on migratory birds, and shipping traffic.
However, moving west also puts it closer to Pearl Harbor’s naval operations, which is another big question mark.
The project would also need an undersea cable.
Peck says the renewable energy project could mean having to rely on four less shipments of oil each year.
Progression Energy envisions a timeline of construction in 2020 with completion two years later.
The company is submitting an application with the Interior Department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy.
Peck says specifics about the project are expected to be released early next year.
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