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Business Briefs

For Tuesday, May 3, 2011

By Star-Advertiser Staff and News Services

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 03:30 a.m. HST, May 03, 2011


First Wind bid for Molokai rejected

The state Public Utilities Commission has rejected a request by First Wind LLC for more time to submit a document outlining its plans for a proposed wind energy project on Molokai.

First Wind had sought an eight-month extension past a March 18 deadline to file a “term sheet” that would have served as a precursor to a potential agreement with Hawaiian Electric Co. to buy power from the proposed 200-megawatt project.

However, First Wind missed the deadline because it was not able to reach an agreement with land owner Molokai Ranch on a potential site for the project.

In a letter dated April 29, the PUC told First Wind that the wind energy company was not authorized to request an extension because it was not an official party in the proceedings.

The PUC said such an extension request would have to be filed by HECO, which is a party in the case. However, HECO previously said it would not file for an extension on First Wind’s behalf.

After First Wind missed the March 18 deadline, Molokai Ranch announced that it had begun talks with a new developer, Pattern Energy Group, on building the Molokai wind energy project.

Southwest closes $1B AirTran deal

DALLAS » Southwest Airlines Co. has closed its purchase of AirTran.

For travelers, nothing much changes right away. Travelers will continue to deal with whichever airline sold them their ticket. And policies such as checked bag fees will stay the same for now.

AirTran charges for checked baggage, while Southwest allows two bags for free.

Integrating the two airlines will take many months. Southwest plans to begin painting AirTran airplanes in Southwest colors next year.

Buying AirTran Holdings Inc. gives Southwest a presence in Atlanta for the first time, as well as Ronald Rea gan National Airport in Washington.

Southwest says the deal that closed yesterday values AirTran at $1 billion.

Manufacturing continues growth

WASHINGTON » Manufacturing activity grew for the 21st straight month in April, fueled by a weak dollar that has made U.S. goods less expensive overseas. But the cost of raw materials rose for the fifth consecutive month, a growing concern for many companies.

The Institute for Supply Management, a trade group of purchasing executives, said yesterday that its index of manufacturing activity dipped to 60.4 in April.

That’s down slightly from March and February, the fastest month for expansion in nearly seven years. A reading above 50 signals growth.

March construction spending up 1.4%

WASHINGTON » Builders began work on more office buildings, hotels and factories in March, lifting construction spending after three straight monthly declines.

Construction spending rose 1.4 percent in March, the Commerce Department said yesterday. It was the biggest advance since last April and was helped by a rise in spending on home-improvement proj ects.

The overall increase, however, came after building activity had fallen in February to the lowest level in more than a decade. Even with the advance, activity in March stood at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $768.9 billion, just half the $1.5 trillion pace considered healthy by economists. It could take four years for the construction industry to fully recover from the housing bust and deep recession, economists say.

ON THE MOVE

Coldwell Banker Pacific Properties has hired James E. Kinsey Jr. as Realtor associate. He joined the company in April and was previously military affairs adviser at Heald College and also has served in the U.S. Air Force.

***

Golf Digest magazine has ranked Mauna Kea Golf Course as No. 27 in its 2011-2012 “America’s 100 Greatest Public Golf Courses” listing. The magazine’s list was established in 1866 as golf’s oldest ranking of golf course excellence and integrity with Price water houseCoopers standing behind the calculations.

***

Enterprise Honolulu, the Oahu Economic Development Board, has elected Roger Peters to its board of directors. He is currently executive vice president and general manager of dck Pacific and will serve the board for a three-year term.

***

McInerny Foundation, a Bank of Hawaii trustee, has awarded a $50,000 grant to PBS Hawaii, a locally owned independent television station. Funds will be used to continue public education outreach for the science series “NOVA” as well as “Biz Kid$,” which is a PBS financial literacy program geared for young students.





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