Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Oahu’s First Wind Farm in 25 Years Breaks Ground

It’s been a wait of 9,253 days since ground was last broken for a wind farm on Oahu (Hawaiian Electric Renewable System’s Kahuku project – February 4, 1985), but Kahuku Wind Power LLC ended that wait today. The company has commenced building its 30-megawatt project in the hills above Kahuku on Oahu’s North Shore.

It’s somewhat ironic that the state’s most populous island has had to wait until 2010 to participate in the wind technology revolution. The Big Island and Maui have been on that path for years. It hasn’t been for a lack of trying; Hawaiian Electric’s plans for a plant in the Waianae mountains were done in by local opposition to the visual impacts.

The Kahuku region has a tradition of accepting what others reject. HECO called the area the “wind energy capital of the world” (maybe just a tad aggressively) after the HERS project and the world’s largest turbine, the Boeing MOD-5B, were in place in the Kahuku hills.

That description was shelved after every one of those turbines was dismantled due to machinery failure over the next few years, but Kahuku’s back – at least as wind energy capital of Oahu.

And that’s a good thing.

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