A local grassroots organization, I Aloha Moloka’i (IAM), has begun organizing Molokai residents opposed to the development of a Big Wind project on Molokai.
A mailer sent to every post office box on Molokai provides information on the proposed project to transmit 400-megawatts of wind-generated electricity from Lanai and Molokai to Oahu via an undersea cable. The mailer also offers a postage-paid response card to solicit support for the campaign to defeat this project.
IAM provides a list of 26 reasons why “the largest single energy project in Hawai’i history” will have “huge negative impacts” on Molokai.
An initial meeting held two weeks ago invited Robin Kaye from the group Friends of Lanai to speak about the dangers of this project. Kaye said he is organizing a statewide alliance to oppose this project while also supporting responsible renewable energy.
(Kaye also published two articles in The Molokai News regarding his opinion of this project: “Opinion: Don’t believe everything you read about Big Wind” and “Opinion: Morgan simply repeats Castle & Cooke position on Big Wind.” Both stories include thoughtful reader comments at the bottom.)
One concern Kaye discussed at the meeting is Senate Bill 367, which proposes to pass on the cost of the undersea cable project to Hawaiian Electric Company customers. The bill did not pass during the last legislative session, but may likely come up again. HECO — along with the Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism — are the two main proponents of the undersea cable project, estimated to cost $1 billion. Kaye asked residents to write to Rep. Mele Carroll and Sen. Kalani English in opposition of SB 367.
According to the IAM mailer, 93 percent of people on Molokai oppose this project. It also states that the backers of the project — including Molokai Ranch, Castle & Cooke, HECO, Governor Abercrombie, Pattern Energy and Bio-Logical Capital — “refuse to look at alternatives” for renewable energy.
Pattern Energy, the California-based company chosen by Molokai Ranch to install the wind turbines if the project proceeds, held three meetings on Molokai at the beginning of March. These meetings, held in conjunction with Peter Nicholas of Molokai Ranch, were an opportunity ask questions and learn about the project. As proposed, the project would include 90 400-foot tall windmills spanning 11,000 acres both south and north of Maunaloa.
Pattern Energy has scheduled three more Molokai meetings: June 21 at the Maunaloa Community Center, 5:30–7 p.m.; June 22 at the Mitchell Pau’ole Center, 6–7:30 p.m.; June 23 at Kilohana School, 6–7:30 p.m.
IAM has said it will also hold more community meetings, which are yet to be scheduled.