Viewpoint: Big Wind project clarifications offered

The June 14 article about Maui County’s powerful letter to the Public Utilities Commission – and the county’s decision to intervene in Hawaiian Electric Co.’s request to be reimbursed by ratepayers to the tune of $4 million – contained a number of inaccuracies.

The article identifies two organizations that were denied intervention by the PUC: Life of the Land and Lanaians for Sensible Growth. That is incorrect. The two parties denied intervener status were Friends of Lana’i and Life of the Land.

The article states that the Big Wind project will likely have an enormous impact on Lanai and possibly Molokai. True enough, but one look at the state’s project maps (www.hirep-wind.com/documents/EISPN_PROJECT_AREA_22NOV2010.pdf) confirms for all Maui residents that the state plans to run a cable to/from Maui as well. And First Wind Hawaii, the developer that was unsuccessful in its attempt to develop a wind power plant on Molokai, stated in an April 26 Pacific Business News article that it has now turned its sights to Maui, suggesting that “Maui be included in the interisland cable project.”

The June 14 article’s comments about the deal struck between Castle & Cooke and Pattern Energy also requires clarification: Although critical documents that outline the proposed assignment of a portion of C&C’s allotment of 400 megawatts to Pattern (as Moloka’i Renewables) have been sealed and kept from the public’s view, HECO has publicly stated that C&C has struck a deal with Pattern to develop 200 megawatts on Molokai for which Molokai Ranch would provide land.

It is easy to understand why any article tackling this opaque process might prove slightly inaccurate. HECO, the PUC and the consumer advocate have consistently hidden critical information from those who will be most affected – HECO/Maui Electric Co. ratepayers. Many of the studies for which HECO is requesting the $4 million payback have been withheld from public view, as have the documents outlining the HECO/C&C/First Wind/Pattern Energy deals. Big Wind has not exactly been an open and transparent process.

Mayor Alan Arakawa and Doug McLeod, Maui County’s energy coordinator, are to be commended for standing up for Maui County citizens.

* Robin Kaye is the spokesman for the Friends of Lana’i.

Viewpoint: Big Wind project clarifications offered – Mauinews.com | News, Sports, Jobs, Visitor’s Information – The Maui News

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