More than a dozen opponents of a planned wind energy farm in Kahuku were arrested late Thursday in an attempt to block large turbines and other pieces of construction equipment from getting to the North Shore.
Police officers began moving in en force just after 11 p.m., hours after protesters first began gathering in Kalaeloa.
At least 21 protesters who were sitting in the roadway late Thursday said they were expecting to be arrested for refusing to move out of the roadway, though it’s unclear exactly how many were taken into police custody.
It was the second time this week that opponents of the project had attempted to prevent energy firm AES from moving parts for the wind farm from a West Oahu storage facility to the Kahuku work site. The first blockade, which took place Sunday night, forced AES to cancel its plans to move the equipment.
Subsequent plans to move the equipment this week were also postponed.
The project has all the necessary approvals to move forward with the project, which calls for a wind farm with eight turbines. The wind farm is projected to produce 27 megawatts ― enough to power 16,000 homes.
Critics of the AES Na Pua Makani wind farm slated for Kahuku started gathering Sunday night, when the company had hoped to start sending heavy equipment and wind turbine parts to the North Shore.
Protesters say they don’t want to see any more wind turbines on the North Shore.
“Our stand is just to stop the turbines and to make our voices heard for once,” said Kamalani Keliikuli, vice president of Ku Kiai Kahuku. “We’ve been fighting this fight for 10 years.”
Waianae resident Kaukaohu Wahilani added: “Getting arrested for something that you believe is right, in our eyes, it’s righteous. Enough is enough and we need to stand and rise.”
But AES says it’s jumped through all the necessary hoops to move forward with the project.
“We feel comfortable with the work that we’ve done with the comprehensive studies that we’ve done to ensure that we are building a project that is safe, secure, and is going to ultimately benefit the state and its long-term energy goals,” said Mark Miller, AES chief operating officer.
This story will be updated.
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