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Molokai Ranch ends talks with wind project developer

By Star-Advertiser Staff

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 03:28 p.m. HST, Feb 08, 2013

star-advertiserA study by UHERO says wind projects on Molokai and Lanai would have a positive effect on the state's economy. Some of the 20 1.5-megawatt turbines at the Kahe­awa wind farm on Maui.

The company that owns Molokai Ranch said it has ended talks with a developer that was seeking to build a commercial-scale wind energy project on Ranch land.

The developer, a joint venture called Molokai Renewables LLC, is the second company to fail in its efforts to secure land rights from Molokai Properties Ltd. for a planned wind farm on the island.

“After much consideration and discussions with Molokai Renewables, we made the decision not to renew the agreement for the proposed wind farm project on Molokai Ranch lands at this time,” Clay Rumbaoa, chief executive officer of Molokai Properties said in a written statement issued today.

“Our focus is currently on ensuring the success of our newly re-launched ranching operations and our efforts to re-open existing facilities, such as the Maunaloa Lodge, in an effort to create opportunities for the island. We have enjoyed working with Molokai Renewables and appreciate their commitment to smart and sustainable wind projects,” Rumbaoa said.

Molokai Renewables is a joint venture between San Francisco-based Pattern Energy Group LP and Denver-based Bio-Logical Capital LLC. The two companies formed Molokai Renewables after Boston-based First Wind ended its effort in 2011 to develop a wind project on Molokai.

Both companies had proposed building a 200-megawatt wind energy facility that would include as many as 70 turbines sited on 11,000 acres on the western part of Molokai. The plan was to have the facility, along with a planned 200-megawatt wind energy project on Lanai, transmit electricity to Oahu via an undersea cable.

“While we are disappointed with Molokai Properties’ decision not to move forward with our proposed wind farm project on Molokai Ranch lands, we respect their decision.  We have enjoyed working with Molokai Properties and appreciate their commitment to Molokai,” Guy Kaulukukui, head of Bio-Logical Capital in Hawaii said in a written statement.

“While we were still many years away from potentially building a wind farm, our initial research indicated that Molokai‘s residents would benefit from the kind of sustainable wind project we were proposing -- one with unique benefits commitments to restore and conserve the land, preserve Molokai‘s rich culture and way of life, and enhance the ocean resources and local food supply that Molokai depends on,” he said.






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