A 100-kilowatt wind turbine won't be built anytime soon, though the Hawaii Water Service Co. has been trying for a while. Hawaii County zoning ordinances require a use permit, which took six months to secure, planning department approval, which is ongoing, and a building permit, which is expected to take another four to six months.
There are four wind farms on Maui and the Big Island, and four more in development. About 9 percent of Maui's energy comes from wind and about 12 percent of the Big Island's supply.
From PBN: "First Wind is planning to expand the 30 megawatt Kaheawa Power Project on West Maui by 21 megawatts, and San Diego-based Sempra Generation hopes to begin a 22-megawatt wind farm at Ulupalakua Ranch in upcountry Maui. The Kauai Electric Utility Cooperative has signed an agreement with UPC Kauai Wind Power for a 10.5-megawatt to 15-megawatt project, and Oahu has its own plans for wind on the North Shore. Boston-based First Wind has broken ground on a 30-megawatt project in Kahuku, but the biggest plans for powering Hawaii's most populous island with wind energy are intended for Molokai and Lanai...
But the permitting process has strangled businesses hoping to take advantage of Hawaii's abundant wind resources. Once approved, it takes only one to three days to put up a wind turbine. It's a three- to four-year process to get a project moving before you can even start putting a spade in the ground,â€ said Karl Stahlkopf, a partner at Kairos Energy Capital, a Honolulu merchant bank specializing in renewable-energy projects. Formerly, project developers could engage in bilateral negotiations with Hawaiian Electric."
Hello? This is ridiculous!
Hawaiian Electric hopes to lay a $1 billion cable between Oahu and two neighbor islands that will pull 400 megawatts from proposed wind farms on Molokai and Lanai. If successful, the wind energy could provide 20 percent of Oahu's annual energy needs.