Senator J. Kalani English
Chair, Committee on Energy, Environment, And International Affairs
State Capitol, Room 205
Honolulu, Hawai`i 96813
Contact: Chris Vandercook 808-586-5886
vandercook @ capitol.hawaii.gov
June 30, 2006
SENATOR ENGLISH SAYS ULUPALAKUA WIND FARM SIGNALS "IMPORTANT NEW DIRECTION FOR STATE ENERGY POLICY"
Senator J. Kalani English (D-Hāna, East and Upcountry Maui, Moloka'i, Lāna'i, and Kaho'olawe) said today that Shell WindEnergy Inc.'s plans to invest more than $200 million in a wind farm at Ulupalakua Ranch "are a welcome sign that the State, the private sector, and energy providers are coming together to take State energy policy in an important new direction – with an emphasis on renewable sources and a goal of energy self-sufficiency." The Senator added, "as we learn more about these plans, we will have to be sensitive to any cultural impacts the project may have and balance those with the tremendous benefits it offers." Shell and Ulupalakua Ranch are partners in the project, which is projected to meet 20 percent of Maui's demand for electricity.
Sen. English, who is Chair of the Senate Committee on Energy, Environment, and International Affairs, lives in Hāna, Maui, not far from the site of the projected Auwahi wind farm. He says the site has been chosen carefully. "Shell has made good use of the state wind map that was made a few years ago with the specific goal of identifying suitable sites for wind energy generation. The wind turbines should be well hidden from view, with plenty of wind energy available."
The Senator also said he was gratified to hear that the project may combine wind and hydroelectric power, under a plan put forth by HECO subsidiary Renewable Hawai'i, Inc. "Using pumped hydro storage technology to store power from wind turbines during off-peak periods is an excellent idea," he said. "This is exactly the kind of creative thinking that can move Hawai'i toward the goal of energy self-sufficiency. Today's announcement moves us closer to a better future for everyone in Hawai'i."
This press release is also published online at the Moloka'i Island Times: http://www.molokaitimes.com/articles/6630153037.asp