Big Wind May Soon Give up on Molokai
News Release from www.IAlohaMolokai.com June 29, 2011
AFTER THREE PUBLIC MEETINGS last week in Molokai, industrial wind factory developers Pattern Energy and Bio-Logical Capital said they will abandon the Big Wind project if the island’s overwhelming opposition continues.
“If the community does not want this project it will not go through,” said Pattern Senior Developer Christian Hackett. “And we will pack up and leave.” This statement was echoed by Pattern Senior Manager David Parquet, who added that if Big Wind could not convince the community to accept the project the developers would abandon it.
The Molokai community’s opposition to the project has continued to harden. In a large March survey, 93% of respondents opposed Big Wind, with 4% in favor. An even larger survey this week is 97% against the project and 2% in favor. This near-unanimous opposition was abundantly clear in last week’s meetings, where over fifty speakers strongly condemned Big Wind and no one spoke in its support.
Regarding the 93% and 97% opposition, Bio-Logical Capital Hawaii Vice President KeikiPua Dancil said, “We believe that those numbers are correct. We are not questioning those numbers .. . Those are real numbers.”
The $3-4 billion project, to be funded by Hawaiian electricity bill increases and U.S. taxpayer funds, is being aggressively pushed by Governor Abercrombie, Hawaiian Electric, the Public Utility Commission, Castle and Cooke, and Pattern. It would cover 35 square miles of Molokai and Lanai with nearly 200 turbine towers, each taller than Hawaii’s tallest buildings and each weighing 1,000 tons, as well as a network of roads and transmission lines.
The turbine towers would be connected to Oahu by a billion dollar undersea cable dynamited through the Molokai Reef, America’s largest pristine coral reef, and through the Hawaiian National Whale Sanctuary.
The project is raising concerns throughout Hawaii and the mainland due to its enormous costs and extensive impacts on property values, archaeological and religious sites, traditional lifestyles, rare and endangered species, subsistence hunting and fishing, visual values, and other ocean and land resources. When repeatedly asked why Pattern would keep working on the project although opposition is nearly unanimous, the developers said that it was part of the process they had to fulfill.
Energy experts contacted by I Aloha Molokai estimate Big Wind would only provide 4% of Oahu’s electricity, making it the most expensive and inefficient energy project in Hawaii’s history.
LINK: Audio of meeting
PDF: Quotes from meeting