Bigger, taller turbines proposed for planned Kahuku wind farm
A windward Oahu wind farm could end up with the tallest turbines in the state.
The proposed project is forced to make changes, and the Kahuku community found out what could be going up in their neighborhood.
Even with turbine spinning around Kahuku, wind farms stir up debate in the rural windward Oahu community.
The latest proposal by Na Pua Makani Power Partners calls for a number of changes to the original Environmental Impact Statement.
"The current turbine is obsolete and no longer available. So we looked at technology that is available for this project and we were able to reduce the number of turbines from 10 to 9, and perhaps even 8 using that technology," said Na Pua Makani Manager Mike Cutbirth.
"If they can get the same amount of power with fewer turbines - that would be great. I'm for renewable energy. I was raised on K-hill and there were windmills, so I was raised with them," said Kahuku resident Melissa Primacio.
The newer turbines would be taller by 100 feet.
Residents got a chance to see the difference with visual simulations of the surrounding area between the first turbines and the latest larger ones.
"The turbines are at a distance from the community, so you really can't tell the difference," stated Cutbirth.
But some residents disagreed, and felt the turbines and tall towers will be too close for comfort.
"They will be the tallest structures in the state, bigger than the First Hawaiian Bank Tower. So I have concerns over how close they will be to the elementary school," said Kahuku resident Elizabeth Rago.
Instead of voicing concerns over the new changes, some objected to the project itself.
"We're not opposed to renewable energy, we just don't want to have it in our backyard where there could be health effects on our kids," said Kahuku resident Matt Mamizuka.
Some residents, who didn't want to go on camera, told KITV they have given in to the fact wind turbines are already in their backyard - whether they like it or not. They feel the wind turbines will be a part of the Kahuku community for years to come.
Wednesday's meeting was the last public hearing on the changes to the EIS, but residents have until June 7 to send in their concerns and comments.
Na Pua Makani management hopes the final EIS will be done by this summer, which would allow construction to start next year.