Turbines at Na Pua Makani wind-farm in Kahuku were officially connected to Hawaiian Electric’s grid on Tuesday.
It’s a milestone for developer AES, and another reason to picket for residents.
About 50 people today waved signs with captions like “Too Big – Too Close.”
Demonstrators have been sharing their displeasure over the project for more than a year now.
Sen. Gil Riviere, who represents Kahuku, said he and the non-profit Keep the North Shore Country filed a contested case a few years ago alleging that the project could harm endangered species in the area.
“The case is presently at the Hawai’i state supreme court, and we’re waiting for it to get scheduled for arguments,” Riviere said.
“It’s easy for decision makers in Honolulu to make these grandiose plans and just drop things on communities, but I think we have to listen.”
Kahuku resident Sunny Unga, who has three children under the age of 9, fears the turbines are too close to schools in the community.
“It is something that the children will be hearing as they attend school, and how does that affect the learning environment, if our children are constantly exposed to this noise,” Unga said.
“We need to think about the health of the community, we need to think about our environmental impacts…and look at other ways in which we can combat climate change.”
Sandra Larsen, the Hawai’i Market Business leader of AES, release the following statement today:
“We respect people’s right to voice their opinions about the project, and we are committed to continuing a dialogue with community members interested in discussing how we can achieve a better future for Hawai’i together…”
Protesters wore face masks and practiced social distancing on Tuesday.
The turbines were connected on Tuesday, but have not yet been energized to start powering an estimated 16,000 homes.
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