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Thursday, June 10, 2010
Aiona: AECOM selected to conduct EIS for undersea cables
By News Release @ 8:57 PM :: 7646 Views :: Energy, Environment, National News, Ethics


HONOLULU–The State of Hawai‘i today announced AECOM will prepare the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the proposed undersea interisland cable connecting the islands of Lana‘i, Moloka‘i, O‘ahu and Maui. 

After a lengthy State procurement process, AECOM was selected by an evaluation committee that included representatives from numerous State and Federal agencies, including the State Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT), the State Department of Accounting and General Services, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, the federal Minerals Management Service, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.  The contract is being paid for by American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds totaling $2.9 million dollars.

In 2008, the Lingle-Aiona Administration took the bold step to commit Hawai‘i’s resources to become less reliant on fossil fuels and move Hawai‘i towards utilizing more clean energy sources.  At that time, the State and the U.S. Department of Energy signed an unprecedented agreement to establish the Hawai‘i Clean Energy Initiative, which establishes a 70 percent clean energy goal by 2030.

“By providing a statewide electrical grid and a way to move renewable energy from where it is abundantly available to where it is needed, the interisland cable will help our state achieve a clean energy future,” said Ted Peck, Administrator, Hawai‘i State Energy Office.  “The cable and the Interisland Wind projects, will help improve our energy security by reducing Hawai‘i’s dependence on the volatile global petroleum market.”

Working with AECOM are two key subcontractors: Ku‘iwalu and R.M Towill Corporation, as well as numerous specialty service subcontractors who bring specific local knowledge and expertise or highly specialized technical expertise to the project.

As part of the EIS, the consultant team will examine impacts on cultural resources; historic and archeological resources; socioeconomic impacts; coastal aquatic ecology; endangered, threatened and protected species; coral reef ecology; whales and marine mammals; wildlife and fisheries biology; water quality; ecological and human health; offshore habitats; essential fish habitats; visual impacts; preferred routing alternatives; and other issues.  The EIS work will also include rigorous public involvement on the affected islands through a comprehensive public outreach and participation process.

“The State is very excited to begin work on the EIS for the undersea interisland cable,” said Lt. Governor James R. “Duke” Aiona, Jr.  “We encourage all of our residents to be a part of the public involvement process, which will help shape a clean energy future for our state.”

The undersea interisland cable is one component of the Interisland Wind Initiative, which includes the development of wind farms in Maui County, the development of the undersea cable, and the utility infrastructure upgrades that would allow the integration of a renewable energy electrical grid.  The Interisland Wind Initiative is part of a comprehensive energy agreement signed one year ago between the State of Hawai‘i and Hawaiian Electric companies to move the state away from its dependence on fossil fuels for electricity and ground transportation.  Partners in the agreement include the DBEDT, the Hawaiian Electric companies, the State Consumer Advocate and the U.S. Department of Energy.

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