Editorial: Wary eye on turbines
If Hawaii is to reach its goal of 100% clean energy use by 2045, it’s assumed that wind energy needs to be part of the mix.
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If Hawaii is to reach its goal of 100% clean energy use by 2045, it’s assumed that wind energy needs to be part of the mix. Those giant turbines work night and day and generate lots of juice. Solar panels, the only other viable large-scale option at the moment (besides nuclear energy) can’t command enough real estate to meet all our future needs.
But space is limited for turbines, too, and so it’s to be expected that they will sprout nearer to homes and schools — including on the North Shore, where most of the turbines on Oahu are located. Some area residents are sick and tired of the whirring behemoths dominating the landscape and messing with their quality of life.
So it’s understandable that City Councilwoman Heidi Tsuneyoshi wants a resolution to urge the city Department of Planning and Permitting to more closely regulate Na Pua Makani Power Partners and its plan to put up eight new wind turbine generators in her Kahuku district. Over her objections, the Council’s Zoning Committee held it up; committee chairman Ron Menor wanted more time to consider new information, the community’s concerns and the city’s renewable energy goals.
Fair enough. Project developers estimate the 25-megawatt farm could power about 9,000 homes at half the cost of burning oil.
But as more turbines go up, the city should assume that more public resistance will follow. Closer scrutiny may be politically unavoidable. Might as well plan for it now.