Tuesday, April 21, 2009

It’s ‘Game Over’ for Penguin Bank Wind Project

Grays Harbor Ocean Energy Company has pulled the plug on its proposed 80-square-mile wind and wave power project in the middle of Hawaii’s most important whale sanctuary.

Wind and wave technology obviously can help Hawaii reduce its dependence on imported fossil fuels, but as we asked when this proposal first surfaced, “does every ‘green’ proposal merit implementation?”

Beyond the regulatory challenges the company faced, you have to conclude Grays Harbor failed to appreciate the extent to which humpback whales are revered in Hawaii. Anything that appears to threaten these winter visitors is headed for trouble.

Feedback from residents might have saved the company from all the unfavorable publicity it created for itself. As the leader of a local environmental group observed:

“We hope that any future proposal will involve the community early on in the process and be mindful of Hawaii’s fragile environment.” 

That’s good advice for any company with plans for Hawaii, including renewable energy developers.

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