Friday, July 8, 2011

Big Wind Public Info Process Shows Signs of Cracking

“You have to go through this process of noise, where you let people feel that they had a platform to speak. But you can’t let the noise distract you because time is a nemesis….” ~ Michael Cyrus, a managing partner at SteelRiver Infrastructure Partners, as quoted by Pacific Business News.

“…if they’re asking Hawaiian Electric (not to) say yes to anything because some people don’t like it, we can’t do that.” ~ Robbie Alm, executive vice president, Hawaiian Electric Company, as quoted by The Molokai Dispatch.

We’ll try not to read too much into those quotes. Taken one way – the way the speakers would want you to take them – they simply are evidence of the dogged determination and commitment Big Wind project supporters have to bring this wind energy project to fruition.

Taken another way, they could suggest a dismissive attitude about the public involvement process with neighbor island residents who have long complained that they feel like second-class citizens. We’d hate to see Big Wind confirm it for them.

Here’s another quote about the Big Wind public meetings, as supplied by Robin Kaye of Friends of Lanai: “Can’t we talk about something besides wind?” Governor Neal Abercrombie asked during his July 2 meeting on the island.

Maybe so, but it’s a pretty good bet that 80-percent-plus of the comments and questions the Governor will get on Lanai and Molokai any time soon will be about wind. After all, he’s the man who threatened back in April to condemn 10,000 acres on Molokai if it were necessary to move Big Wind forward.

Ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC), the technology many of us believe is Hawaii’s best long-term hope for energy independence, continues to attract media coverage, as it does in today’s edition of Pacific Business News.

Governor Abercrombie would indeed have something else to talk about if he’d direct more of his resources toward base-load energy technologies like geothermal and OTEC and less toward intermittent wind -- especially when there's a headwind blowing at him on the neighbor islands.

No comments: