Gone with the Wind?
News Release from Friends of Lanai July 29, 2013
Friends of Lana’i (FOL) today filed a motion to intervene in the Public Utilities Commission’s (PUC) recently-released docket requesting a “progress report” from Castle & Cooke on their proposed Big Wind on Lana’i project.
“David Murdock has refused to tell the public the nature of his development ‘rights’ for Big Wind. The PUC apparently now agrees with FOL’s long-held view: this is a public interest issue that should be transparent. We shouldn’t spend another dime of tax and ratepayers money, nor even five minutes of government time on an unnecessary, unconscionably expensive and irreparably damaging one-way extension cord from Lana’i to O’ahu,” said Robin Kaye, spokesperson for FOL. “And,” he continued, “we see that Murdock intends to demand yet another ‘protective order’ before complying with the PUC’s request, again trying to hide his “progress” -- or lack thereof. FOL will continue its efforts to open up this information for the public; it is way too important to be hidden behind a false claim of “corporate privacy.”
As much as an additional 12 cents/kilowatt hour could be added to each HECO bill on O`ahu, just for the undersea cable, according to an Integrated Resource Planning Final Report filed recently with the PUC.
FOL applauds the PUC for recognizing FOL’s long-standing argument that no mainland real estate developer should be allowed to set Hawaii’s energy policy. According to Kaye, “We’re delighted to see the PUC call for an update, it’s way overdue. HECO and Castle & Cooke (C&C) have been pushing Big Wind on Lana’i for years as an easy fix to O`ahu’s need to meet its renewable portfolio mandate, despite increasing, ever-louder calls from the community on Lana’i and around the state that the proposed mega-turbine project should never happen. With the transfer in ownership of much of Lana’i to Larry Ellison last year, protest over the potential to turn Lana’i’s historic Ka’a ahupua’a into an industrial power plant for O’ahu just continues to grow.”
The PUC ordered HECO to remove any mention of Lana`i from the pending RFP for 200 MW of renewable power for O`ahu, and also ordered HECO to remove an undersea cable from the bidding process, instead opening a new docket to “investigate” C&C’s progress on the Lana`i project. According to Civil Beat, the PUC stated: "To be clear, the Commission does not believe that any ‘development rights' have been extended to Castle & Cooke to complete its Lana’i wind project.”
Kaye said: “We believe that it is now clear from these orders that the PUC, like FOL, questions Murdock’s commitment and ability to complete this boondoggle, especially in light of his selling off his assets on Lana`i. The Lana’i community has been forceful in saying ‘No Windmills On Lana’i’ for close to five years and we’re not about to stop now.”
In recent news articles, the State’s Energy Administrator was quoted as saying that the State no longer needed Big Wind on Lana’i to make its Renewable Portfolio Standards. And HECO was quoted as saying that they could now reach those standards solely with on-O’ahu renewable energy projects.
“Friends of Lana’i stands firm: No Big Wind on Lana’i; it will not happen. We will not let it happen,” said Kaye.
Friends of Lanaʼi P.O. Box 631739 Lanaʼi City, HI 96763 Friendsoﬂanai@gmail.com
PUC docket: #2013-0168