A group of North Shore residents hosted a garage sale Saturday morning in Kahuku for a special cause. Ku Kiai Kahuku is a grassroots movement that started two weeks ago, hoping to prevent a big wind project from developing in their backyard. Through community fundraising efforts, the group hopes to raise $10,000.
“If you don’t speak out now, more billion dollar companies will come, they will keep coming and they’ll keep pressing on these communities who can’t afford the time or the money to pay for legal representation,” Kananiloa’anuenue Ponciano, Ku Kiai Kahuku, said.
Development company AES Corporation say the proposed facility Na Pua Makani is expected to power 7,000 homes. It hopes to be operational by May of next year. Opponents are concerned about the impact on endangered species like the Hawaiian Hoary Bat and also on human health.
“The Opeapea isn’t just an endangered species by federal law which it is and by state law, which it is but it’s also our kupuna,” Liz Rago-Ka’ili, Ku Kiai Kahuku, said.
“Kids who have epilepsy, it can lead to shadow flickers here, can lead to sleep deprivation and all kinds of other stuff,” Ponciano said.
Research published by the U.S. National Library of Medicine in 2013 looked at possible risks like noise and visual effects of wind turbines on human emotional and physical health. They couldn’t find concrete correlations because it said it’s still a new field of study.
Some say they support renewable energy but want the project to move to deserted locations on the mainland.
“We don’t wanna say take your turbines to another place that has another community because well that’s gonna be another community’s problem,” Ponciano said.
Ponciano says their first event Saturday was a success and raised $400. They say they’ll keep resistance strong until the turbines move along.