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Kahuku Wind Farm Protesters Want A Solar Farm Instead

The wind turbines currently located on the North Shore.

Protesters in Kahuku who have been blocking the movement of equipment for a wind farm said they would support a solar farm in its place.

The AES Corp.'s Na Pua Makani Wind Project would add eight new wind turbines to Kahuku and would be the third wind farm in the area.

On Sunday night, AEA planned to begin transporting equipment for the wind farm from Kawailoa to the Kahuku construction site. However, protesters blocked both the entrance to the Kahuku site and the exit from the Kawailoa location.

AES cancelled the move and has not tried to transport the equipment since.

“We continue to work closely with officials, community members and our many stakeholders to assess the delivery of the N? Pua Makani components safely, with minimal disruption to O‘ahu residents, and with the utmost respect for the protestors,” AES US CEO Mark Miller said in a statement.

Tevita Kaili, the president of Kahuku Community Association, said the group supports renewable energy, but not wind turbines.

“We are very much for solar energy, especially rooftop,” Kaili said. “We've been very supportive of groups that have come to establish solar farms in Kahuku. We’d much prefer the solar farms.” 

According to the Hawaii State Energy Office, most of the state’s renewable energy  -- 39.6% -- comes from rooftop solar panels. Wind energy produces the second most, generating 23.9% of renewable power.

Peter Rosegg, senior spokesman for Hawaiian Electric Co. explained that in order for Hawaii to get to the goal of 100% renewable energy, all the different methods are needed, not just solar.

“We're open to all technologies, and that may include more wind projects,” he said. “People absolutely have a right to be concerned about projects in their neighborhood. But if everyone just says not in my backyard, we are stuck with oil for electricity.”

A state Department of Transportation spokesmam said AES has all of the proper permits to move its equipment when it is ready.

AES did not respond when asked when it will again attempt to move the equipment to its Kahuku location.

Ashley Mizuo is the government reporter for Hawaiʻi Public Radio. Contact her at amizuo@hawaiipublicradio.org.
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