Na Pua Makani Power Partners LLC, the developer looking to build a 25-megawatt wind project in Kahuku, said it plans to decrease the number of turbines it will develop near the North Shore community and that the turbines will be taller.
Na Pua Makani Power Partners’ parent company, Champlin/GEI Wind Holdings LLC, a Southern California wind energy development company, would supply energy to Hawaiian Electric Co. at 15 cents per kilowatt-hour over the next 20 years. The state Public Utilities Commission approved the power purchasing agreement for the project in January 2015, saying the project would provide benefits to ratepayers.
The developer is reducing the maximum turbines needed to meet the target-generating capacity for the project to nine, and potentially eight, from 10, Na Pua Makani said Thursday in a letter referencing its second draft environmental impact statement. The second draft of the project’s EIS focuses on nine turbines. The height above the ground will be 656 feet, an increase of 144 feet.
Na Pua Makani said the change was in response to public comments on the original draft of the EIS at a public open house in June, relating to visual impacts and consideration of fewer turbines. The Kahuku residents voiced concern about the visual impact and noise of the turbines.
“It’s a low drone. You can’t get away from it,” said Kent Fonoimoana, Kahuku Community Association president. “Now, for our sunset, we look through wind turbines.”
“I’m not against renewable energy; I’m 100 percent for it,” Fonoimoana continued. “If you are going to be putting them on top of a community that has already expressed that they don’t want them, there should be at least some type of cooperation between them and us.”
A public meeting on the second draft will be held May 25 at the Kahuku Community Center. On Thursday the Honolulu City Council is set to a hear a resolution seeking to provide greater opportunity for public input in utility-scale wind machine projects.
To meet City and County of Honolulu setback requirements, the distance between the farm and the nearest residence must be equivalent to the maximum turbine blade tip height.
The Community Board in Kahuku passed a resolution requiring wind turbines be set back three-quarters of a mile from the nearest residence. There were an estimated 612 housing units in Kahuku in 2012 that were nearly all occupied, according to the EIS.
The project site is on agricultural land next to a residential neighborhood to the east and space managed by the Army for training to the west.
Comments on the second draft will be accepted through June 7. They can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Include “Na Pua Makani Second Draft EIS” in the subject line.
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