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Thursday, August 9, 2012
Big Wind Loses Monopoly: Feds Open EIS to Alternatives
By Andrew Walden @ 5:26 PM :: 7837 Views :: Kauai County, DHHL, Energy, Environment

by Andrew Walden

In a victory for Big Wind and Big Cable opponents, an official of the US DoE today announced expansion of the “scope” of the Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) for the Hawaii Interisland Renewable Energy Program. Up until this point the PEIS been limited to wind energy development. Now, according to DoE representative Jane Summerson, the PEIS will consider: “energy efficiency, distributed renewables, utility-scale renewables, alternative transportation fuels and modes, and electrical transmission and distribution.”

In an email statement responding to the change, Henry Curtis, Director of Life of the Land, said, "Life of the Land looks forward to a hard look at Big Wind alternatives, as mandated by federal regulation and Ninth Circuit Appeals Court rulings.”

Here is the text of the ‘Heads up’ email sent to Curtis this morning: (emphasis added)

I would like to introduce myself. My name is Jane Summerson, and I am the Federal Document Manager representing the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for the re-scoped Hawai‘i Clean Energy Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement.  

As you are likely aware, DOE and the State of Hawai‘i have established a long-term partnership to transform the way in which renewable energy and energy efficiency resources are planned and used in the State. In 2010, DOE announced its intent to prepare a programmatic environmental impact statement (PEIS) with the State as a joint lead for wind energy development under the Hawai‘i Interisland Renewable Energy Program (HIREP).  

DOE and Hawai‘i held scoping meetings in February 2011 and considered all the comments received during the scoping process. We heard a number of concerns related to the scope of the process. In response to public comments, as well as regulatory and policy developments, DOE has broadened the scope of the PEIS to now include energy efficiency, distributed renewables, utility-scale renewables, alternative transportation fuels and modes, and electrical transmission and distribution. DOE has approved an Amended Notice of Intent that will appear in the Federal Register this Friday, August 10. 

DOE invites public comments on the revised scope of the PEIS, now called the Hawai‘i Clean Energy PEIS. The State of Hawai‘i and the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) are cooperating agencies in preparing this PEIS. DOE will hold eight public scoping meetings on six islands (Kaua‘i, O‘ahu, Hawai‘i, Maui, Moloka‘i, Lāna‘i) from September 11–20, 2012. The public is invited to attend and participate in these meetings. Meeting details, information about the PEIS, the Amended Notice of Intent, and instructions for commenting on the PEIS can be found on the following website: http://hawaiicleanenergypeis.com. 

Because you are a key stakeholder, I wanted to provide you this notice of the upcoming public scoping meetings. I look forward to your participation in the scoping process. 

Jane Summerson, PhD.

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