Big Wind project faces steady headwind of obstacles

| April 8, 2011 | 0 Comments

David Parquet of Pattern Energy made three presentations to the Molokai community in March to discuss the options for a wind power project. Peter Nicholas, CEO of Molokai Ranch, has chosen Pattern Energy over First Wind as the preferred developer for the project because, in part, he said that First Wind did not seek community input.

First Wind, the company originally chosen to develop wind power on Molokai, missed a critical deadline with the state Public Utilities Commission to secure the necessary land for this project.

According to the Pacific Business News, First Wind was supposed to show the PUC that it had secured the land needed to build a 200-megawatt wind farm no later than March 18. Now that First Wind is seeking an eight-month extension to this deadline, Hawaiian Electric Company is advising the PUC to not grant the extension.

Peter Nicholas, CEO of Molokai Ranch — owner of the land near Maunaloa that would be used by a wind power project — made it clear at three community meetings in early March that it preferred to work with Pattern Energy. Nicholas said First Wind had presented two proposals for purchasing acreage on the Molokai Ranch for the project but they were both rejected.

This is where it gets sticky. Based on agreements between HECO and First Wind, no other developer can legally pursue a wind project on Molokai. If HECO seeks an agreement with Pattern Energy or any other developer, a First Wind executive said there is potential for litigation, the PBN reported.

Apparently Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie recognized this problem immediately after the first Molokai Ranch community meeting on March 2. On March 3, an internal document from Abercrombie sent to Beverly Pauole-Moore, the governor’s volunteer representative on Molokai, revealed that the state is willing to confiscate the land needed for the project using eminent domain action.

If the Molokai project does fall through, apparently there is another option. Officials told PBN in the past that if Molokai’s part of the project fell through then all 400 mw could be developed on Lanai, where Castle & Cooke is the developer for that proposed wind farm.

Category: Business, News, Sustainability

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  1. mkklolo says:

    Guv. Buggercrummy wants to cram this up our uh…ear, whether we want it or not. Now aren’t we glad we voted for him? Republicrat or Demo, makes no difference…big money wins over the people.

  2. Many of us on Lana’i don’t want ANY of them, yet alone all of them! I loved the Moloka’i person who, at the EIS Scoping Meeting said “Moloka’i has a water shortage problem. Do we ask O’ahu to build a tunnel and send us water?”

  3. steve says:

    from an outsider’s pov, the argument that “moloka’i has a water shortage problem” is quite funny.

    ever look makai of ANY road on moloka’i? far as the eye can see.

    that “problem” is quite easily solved — perhaps a couple of solar or wind driven desal units?

    that other “problem” mentioned at ke nani kai? a buddy of mine built a (albeit) crude wood burning air conditioning unit. i was left thinking if those solar panels generate so much reflective energy so as to heat condos several hundred feet away, imagine if one could harness that heat in much the same way to convert it to cool air. it that way, the hotter the day the cooler the ac would blow.

    you can google “gas fired air conditioning” for a rough idea how this system works.

    but the notion of a “water shortage” on moloka’i makes me laugh almost as much as mkklolo’s online id 😉

  4. mkklolo says:

    What a great idea! Let’s propose the water tunnel as a trade for the wind towers…except that Oahu is using too much of their sustainable yield of water too. They’ll want it to go one way to them just like the wind juice.

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