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Friday, April 29, 2011
Friends of Lanai Calls for Big Wind Bidding Process to be Reopened
By News Release @ 11:03 AM :: 10016 Views :: Kauai County, DHHL, Energy, Environment

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 27, 2011

Friends of Lāna‘i (FOL) today petitioned Hawaii’s Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to reopen the competitive bidding process for the “Big Wind” project.

“The PUC has already granted a waiver from their rules for competitive bidding, over a stinging dissent from former Commissioner Leslie Kondo. As a condition of that waiver, two named parties needed to submit completed term sheets by March 18, 2011. Since only one party timely complied, FOL believes that the waiver is no longer valid, and the competitive bidding process needs to start over,” said Isaac Hall, attorney for FOL.

“Big Wind” is the State’s proposal to build industrial power plants on rural Lāna‘i and Moloka`I capable of producing 400 MW of intermittent wind power. The 170 turbines would produce at best 12% of O`ahu’s electrical needs, while consuming – and irreparably altering – significant amounts of land on both islands (25% of Lāna‘i, should all 400 MW be sited there).

The original agreement between Hawai`i’s monopolistic power company Hawaiian Electric (HECO), Castle and Cooke Resorts (C&C) for Lāna‘i, and First Wind Hawai`i (FWH) for Moloka`i, called for each of the two wind developers to produce 200 MW, but allowed for one to produce up to 350 MW should the other party fail to perform. Given FWH’s inability to secure land for its project, FOL considers the agreement null and void, despite HECO and C&C “offering” to share some of C&C’s portion with a new developer, Pattern Energy.

Pattern Energy is not a party to any PUC Docket, nor party to any agreement with any public agency in Hawai`i. Despite claims to the contrary, FOL believes HECO and C&C have no right – and no authority – to arbitrarily “select” a new developer.

“The entire process has been shrouded in secrecy. There has been no public discussion of costs, no responsible consideration of other means to meet the non-binding goals of the State’s renewable portfolio standards, and no clarity on where the proposed undersea cable might surface on O`ahu. The process hasn’t even determined from which islands the wind resources would be harvested. The rush to Big Wind should stop here and now,” said Robin Kaye, spokesman for FOL.

First Wind filed a letter with the PUC yesterday requesting similar relief.

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