- Associated Press - Friday, May 27, 2016

HONOLULU (AP) - The developer of a proposed wind farm on Oahu has unveiled a new plan for the project that calls for fewer, but taller turbines.

The latest proposal by Na Pua Makani Power Partners was released Thursday at an open house, Hawaii News Now reported (https://bit.ly/1qNPUDy).

The company had initially planned for ten turbines on the wind farm in Kahuku, but it now says it will be able to produce the same amount of energy with eight turbines. In order to do that, the company is looking to raise the turbines’ height from 512 feet to 656 feet.

“That’s the tallest potential turbine we could apply, and we haven’t made that selection, so they could be shorter than that,” said Michael Cutbirth, president and CEO of Na Pua Makani.

Opponents of the project say the taller turbines will be too much of an obstruction, noting that they would surpass the height of the state’s tallest building, the 429-foot-tall First Hawaiian Bank Building.

“The bigger the turbine, the more megawatts they can produce, too. So there’s benefits on their side. But on our side, the bigger the turbines, the less sleep maybe somebody’s gonna get,” said Kent Fonoimoana of the Kahuku Community Association.

Supporters of Na Pua Makani’s proposal are in favor of having fewer energy-producing towers.

“It may take away some of the turbines, so they’ll make the same amount of power but there’ll be lesser turbines, so we’ll see lesser turbines,” said Kahuku resident Melissa Primacio, “Not only that, but gradually with technology, everything gets bigger and better.”

The original plans of the project were brought forward three years ago, and it will still take some time before construction can begin. One of the next steps is having officials review the project’s new environmental impact statement.

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Information from: KGMB-TV, https://www.hawaiinewsnow.com/

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