News Release from DLNR, May 18, 2018
(HONOLULU) – The Board of Land and Natural Resources (BLNR) has given the greenlight to Champlin/GEI Wind Holdings LLC’s Na Pua Makani Power Partners LLC’s plans to build a 25-megawatt wind farm near Kahuku on the north shore of Oahu.
In a 5-1 vote, with one member recusing, the BLNR issued its Decision and Order in a contested case filed by Keep the North Shore Country and Kahuku resident Elizabeth Rago contesting the Final Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) and Incidental Take License for the Na Pua Makani Wind Energy Project.
The wind turbines are likely to take a very low number of endangered species of birds and the endangered Hawaiian hoary bat, or ōpeʻapeʻa. Na Pua Makani will mitigate this take by protecting forests that can support an equivalent number of ōpeʻapeʻa, protecting bird habitat, and funding research.
After carefully considering the evidence during the contested case hearing, the BLNR decided to follow the recommendation of the Endangered Species Review Committee (“ESRC”), a scientific panel that advises the BLNR on these subjects, and approve the incidental take license and HCP. The BLNR decision differed from the recommended decision of the contracted hearing officer, and outlined in detail the reasons for that difference.
The Na Pua Makani wind energy project should reduce Hawai’i’s CO2 emissions from energy production by an additional 1 million tons in its 20-year life, helping Hawai’i achieve its self-imposed target of 100 percent of its electric power from renewable energy by 2045, set by Governor Ige in June of 2015.
In combination with the Kahuku Wind farm and the Kawailoa Wind farms, the Na Pua Makani wind farm will bring the total wind-energy contribution of Oahu’s north shore area to 124 megawatts. The project should stabilize electricity rates and create new jobs. The project will spend up to $4.6 million dollars to assure there will be no negative impacts to Hawai’i’s environment and native and protected species, while an additional sum of $10,000 per wind turbine per year, a possible $2 million dollars over the life of the project, will go into a fund to benefit the Kahuku community.
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