Castle & Cooke said it has transfered a portion of its wind development authority to a mainland company that is proposing to build a large-scale wind energy project on Molokai.
The agreement would allow Pattern Energy Group to develop up to 200 megawatts of wind power on Molokai in tandem with 200 megawatts Castle & Cooke is proposing for Lanai. Under the plan wind energy from both projects would be transmitted to Oahu via an undersea cable.
Castle & Cooke initially received approval to develop a full 400 megawatts of wind power on Lanai alone. The agreement was later amended to split the 400 megawatts evenly between Lanai and Molokai. Under that deal Castle & Cooke was to develop 200 megawatts on Lanai with Boston-based First Wind LLC pursuing 200 megawatts on Molokai.
However, First Wind was unable to reach an agreement with landowner Molokai Ranch to buy or lease land for its project. First Wind also missed a deadline set by the Public Utilities Commission to advance its proposal. That opened the door for San Francisco-based Pattern to pursue the Molokai part of the so-called “Big Wind” project.
Pattern said it has been identified by Molokai Ranch as the preferred developer should the project move forward. The project has met with community opposition on Molokai.
Sempra Generation has signed a 20-year contract to sell wind energy to Maui Electric Co. from Sempra’s 21-megawatt Auwahi Wind project on the Ulupalakua Ranch in the southeastern region of Maui.
Sempra said it expects to begin construction on Auwahi Wind in early 2012, creating about 150 local construction jobs at peak and about five positions to operate the facility. The project is currently undergoing an environmental review by Maui County, and state and federal agencies.
When fully operational in late 2012, Auwahi Wind will be capable of generating enough energy to power 10,000 typical Maui homes, the company said.
The project will have a battery storage unit could store as much as 12 megawatt-hours of wind energy generated by the project’s wind turbines. The stored power will help to smooth the fluctuations normally associated with wind power.
The contract between Maui Electric Company and Sempra Generation is subject to approval by the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission.
Maui already has 51 megawatts of generating capacity from the Kaheawa I and Kaheawa II wind projects developed by First Wind LLC on a ridge above Maalaea.
Pasha Given Shipping Go-Ahead
Young Brothers warns of consequences.
The Hawaii state Public Utilities Commission (PUC) gave Pasha Hawaii Transportation Lines the all-clear on Dec. 2 to begin their interisland shipping – denying Young Brothers their appeal to keep Pasha out of the interisland cargo market.
The PUC stated that allowing Pasha to operate on an interim basis will “foster fair competition in the intrastate shipping industry,” according to the PUC’s interim order. They also stated that having more cargo carriers is positive for customers, so service could continue if “existing services are disrupted.”
However, Young Brothers maintains that Pasha is “cherry-picking” profitable routes and that the PUC is not maintaining its own regulatory standards.
Young Brothers is required to serve all ports in Hawaii, and uses its larger ports to subsidize smaller, less profitable routes such as Molokai and Lanai. Pasha currently sends cargo from the mainland to Honolulu, Kahului and Hilo, and requested to operate between Oahu, Maui, Hawaii Island and Kauai in March 2009.
Roy Catalani, Young Brothers vice president of strategic planning and government affairs, said they will be filing an appeal with the Intermediate Court of Appeals. In addition, he said they plan to file a “motion for stay” – asking the court to stop the effectiveness of the PUC decision until the court makes its decision.