POSTED: 2:31 p.m. HST, Apr 27, 2011
LAST UPDATED: 3:48 p.m. HST, Apr 27, 2011
A community group that opposes the development of large-scale wind farms on Lanai and Molokai is asking state regulators to reopen the bidding process for the projects, saying the original agreement is no longer valid because one of the developers dropped out.
An attorney for Friends of Lanai said today a decision by First Wind LLC not to pursue the Molokai portion of the proposed project triggered a series of events that were not authorized by the original approval granted by the Public Utilities Commission last fall.
First Wind withdrew from the project after missing a key March 18 deadline set by the PUC to show that it was making progress on its planned 200-megawatt Molokai wind project. Castle & Cooke Resorts, which is pursuing a 200-megawatt wind project on Lanai. The two projects, dubbed “Big Wind,” would transmit electricity to Oahu via an undersea cable, under the plan that is still in the preliminary stages.
Friends of Lanai attorney Isaac Hall noted that the PUC had to grant a waiver in order for the Big Wind project to proceed because its proposed size exceeded Hawaiian Electric Co.’s original request for proposals of up to 100 megawatts of renewable energy.