Sunday, July 3, 2011

‘Kill Big Wind Project before It Kills Our Pocketbooks’

Today’s Star-Advertiser carries a commentary under the above headline (it’s slightly different in the original) by Mike Bond, energy industry veteran and Molokai resident. His piece rips the proposed wind energy project on Molokai and Lanai.

Bond calls Big Wind “an engineering and financial tsunami that will enrich its backers and leave the rest of us far worse than before.”

He follows a thread we’ve been picking away at for several months – the myth that Big Wind’s planned 400 megawatts of installed generation will satisfy a sizable chunk of Oahu’s power requirements. (See this February post and several others in March and April.) Inconsistent winds, line losses and other factors would not allow neighbor island wind farms to deliver more than a small fraction of their theoretical potential to Oahu via undersea cable.

Bond’s bases his argument against Big Wind on several factors, with the project’s financial impact taking the most heat. He writes, “In fact, no developer will even touch Big Wind unless the entire $1 billion for the undersea cable can be charged to HECO customers, raising our electricity bills by 30 percent.”

The piece should be required reading for anyone affiliated with the Big Wind project – if for no other reason than to be the basis of their response to the newspaper, which we can expect to read in a few days. Drawing out proponents would be a healthy outcome of Bond’s critical assessment of Big Wind, which on this Independence Day weekend concludes with a pitch for greater transparency and democracy through ratepayer participation:

“The governor, HECO et al. should realize that Maui, Lanai and Molokai are not colonies, nor part of the former Soviet Union. It’s time we were given the truth about Big Wind, so this ridiculous project can be quickly killed before it eats us all out of house and home.”

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