The project is planned in two phases. There will be up to 10 wind turbines in Phase 1, depending on final wind turbine selection, and up to seven wind turbines in Phase 2.
The environmental impact process for Na Pua Makani is targeted for completion in 2015 with completion of Phase 1 construction in 2016. Phase 2 would not be constructed until, among other things, Hawaiian Electric Company upgrades the utility grid in the area. Hawaiian Electric Company has not decided when or if they will do this. Phase 2 is being included in the environmental impact statement so it can be built if Hawaiian Electric Company decides to make the investment in the area grid.
The City and County requires that wind turbines be set back from all property lines a minimum distance equal to the height of the system, including the height of the tower and its farthest vertical extension (to the tip of the blade). For this project, the minimum setback, based on the County ordinance and the turbine height, is 450 feet. In response to community feedback, Na Pua Makani turbines have been relocated and the closest turbine is approximately 2,000 feet from any homes and approximately 3,800 feet from Kahuku High School.
Phase 1 will generate approximately 24 megawatts of power. If both phases are built, the project will produce up to 45 megawatts of power.
Will power going into the Hawaiian Electric Company grid from the wind farm use up the capacity on the residential circuits and prevent people in Kahuku and Laie from being able to install PV panels and use net energy metering?
No. According to Hawaiian Electric Company, the low-voltage residential feeder circuits used to connect residential PV systems to the utility grid are separate from the high-voltage circuits that would carry power from the Na Pua Makani project to the grid. The capacity of residential circuits will not be affected by power going into the grid from Na Pua Makani.
Is there any evidence that siting wind turbines near a community will reduce property values in the community?
No. In fact, numerous studies have been conducted across the nation, three in the past year alone. None of these studies showed wind turbines having a negative impact on the value of nearby property.
Yes. Na Pua Makani will comply with all setback and noise regulations. Na Pua Makani wants to alleviate any concerns among community members about the proximity of wind turbines. However, it is important that the setbacks be based on scientific data and not by setting an arbitrary distance. It is the sound level that is important, not just the distance from the turbine. The sound level is determined by many factors besides distance, such as terrain and the prevailing wind direction. As part of the environmental impact study, a noise model was used to determine the noise profile for each turbine. The model is intentionally conservative and will ensure that Na Pua Makani will be in full compliance with Hawaii Administrative Rule (HAR) 11-46 for noise and conform to the best science on sound effects.
Yes. Community outreach has been ongoing with the public and news media and will continue in the form of discussions and information. As a result of these discussions, adjustments have been made to the location and setbacks of the wind turbines. For example, additional land has been leased so that four turbines could be removed from Cross Hill and situated further mauka from Kamehameha Highway.
Yes. Na Pua Makani will honor the community benefit agreement the previous developer made to the Kahuku community. According to the agreement, the Kahuku community will receive $10,000 per turbine each year over the life of the project. For Phase 1, that would amount to $100,000 per year or about $2 million over the 20-year life of the project.
Besides the community benefit package, what other benefits will the project provide to the North Shore?
Na Pua Makani will benefit the people of the Ko‘olauloa region and the North Shore in many ways, both directly and indirectly. The project will provide construction jobs, as well as long-term employment for those who operate and maintain the facility. The majority of these positions will go to local employees. The increase in clean renewable energy will also protect the environment and the air and water quality that we all value.
In addition, the project will deliver environmental and economic advantages to the state and its residents. The more the utility grid is powered by renewable energy, the less the price of oil will affect the cost of electricity. Electrical rates have increased steadily because they are tied to the cost of oil, which has gone up dramatically in the past 10 years.
The renewable energy produced by the Na Pua Makani project will reduce Oahu’s dependence on imported oil, which will protect Oahu’s electrical ratepayers from the spikes in energy costs when oil prices jump. In addition, the billions of dollars going out of the state to purchase oil would stay here, strengthening the local economy.
Yes, a joint state and federal environmental impact statement has been prepared. These studies will consider all impacts, including economic, social, transportation, and any effects on the physical environment, such as air, water and noise. A study will be done in accordance with the Hawaii Environmental Policy Act because part of the project is being built on state land. A study will also be done under the federal National Environmental Policy Act due to the application to the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife for permits related to wildlife impacts.
Na Pua Makani will sell power to Hawaiian Electric Company at a levelized rate of approximately 15 cents per kilowatt-hour, the lowest price of any renewable energy project in the state’s history.
Na Pua Makani will provide about 50 construction jobs while the project is being built and up to 12 permanent full-time jobs once it begins operating.
Na Pua Makani will produce up to 24 megawatts of power, enough electricity for about 9,500 homes.
Every hour that Na Pua Makani produces 24 megawatts of energy, it reduces the island’s oil consumption by 13.44 barrels.