No Windmills in Landfills

Community Contributed

By Frank Leary

Aloha, Slow Down, This is Molokai.

For almost 20 years, this sign at the airport has greeted visitors and locals to let them know we want them to slow down and drive safely. Slow down, and respect our island and lifestyle.

Molokai is heaven on earth compared to the other Hawaiian Islands. There is still a small-town atmosphere with no traffic lights or parking meters. People still wave at one another.

Molokaians have worked hard to defend our island against outsiders trying to capitalize on our resources. Several half-baked ideas have been tried. Most were not well thought-out, and some were just plain scams. A plan to create electricity from our refuse failed. When Molokai Ranch tried to install a 36-inch diameter water pipe leading to the west end to sell for agricultural use, it was stopped by locals blocking the construction equipment.

Now, we have another “genius” idea, to use giant windmills to supply electricity.

I am all for alternative energy and I have been using solar panels for 20 years. We are not even connected to the grid. We use propane for hot water and refrigeration. We use compact fluorescent lighting. We unplug all of our electronics, even when they are turned off. I am for alternative energy, but I would not put my money into a plan that has been tried, and failed.

During the late 1980s, three windmills were installed near Kaluakoi that had three blades each and were 100 feet high. When Hurricane Iniki came, it took them out, twisting the blades into scrap metal. Several months later, I saw the destroyed blades in the landfill. The windmills were totally destroyed and were never repaired or replaced. One hundred- foot-high towers make excellent lightning rods. The wind changes direction often and these monsters have to turn to face the wind in order to work. Several months a year, there is no wind and the windmills do not turn. Being aware of these pitfalls, spending millions of dollars putting monster windmills on Molokai is a bad idea. As for putting all of the wind farms on homestead land, that is another bad idea.

I love Molokai. Unless the owners of the windmills can get lightning and hurricane insurance, rottsa ruck (lots of luck). Check the facts and take your half-baked ideas and schemes elsewhere.

For all who appreciate Molokai for what it is, stand up and defend her. Speak up and voice your concerns.

Remember, Aloha, Slow Down, This is Molokai.

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3 Responses to “No Windmills in Landfills”

  1. capret89 says:

    At the eastern end of the Columbia Gorge, in Washington & Oregon, there have been 150 wind mills erected within the last year. They have created 150 jobs in the area, develop over 250,000 kilowatts of electricity, enough to provide power to 250,000 residences. That would more than replace the number of jobs lost when the Molokai Ranch had to cease operations! Nearly all the ranchers in the area have been very pleased with the income just from leasing their land to the developers of the “wind farms”.

  2. AdamB says:

    Kudos to Mr Leary for pointing out that the sustainability of the Molokai lifestyle trumps any other concern. The people of Molokai have indeed been vigilant in maintaining their lifestyle in the face of outside threats, especially compared to the other Hawaiian islands.
    Putting windmills on homestead land is also an absurd idea, in my opinion: why use agricultural land to produce energy to power your ice box if the thing’s always going to be empty? But it would be a shame if Molokai ruled out the possibility of harnessing the wind entirely. Just because something failed in the 80′s doesn’t mean it will fail today, especially with wind-innovation at an all-time high.
    Don’t worry about lightning insurance- modern windmills have fantastic surge protection to guard against over-voltage. Ditto for hurricane protection; newer windmills are designed to handle 172mph winds, 20k/h above what a category 5 hurricane would generally throw at you.
    Molokai’s lifestyle reflects a unique success: you enjoy the accouterments of a modern lifestyle without the disillusionment of having to suffer modernity. That’s special- never let it go. But I want to acknowledge that you rely on certain things to maintain that balance: the barge, small airlines, Maui Electric among them. Striving for energy independence gets Molokai closer to overall self-reliance, and if properly constructed windmills can help achieve that goal, I think it’s hasty to call the idea of them erected in the proper place a “half-baked” one.
    I am not saying yes to windmills on Molokai, nor am I saying no. Find a power solution that fits Molokai’s lifestyle, because burning fossil fuels to power the things everyone uses- grocery stores, restaurants, hospitals, etc- is something that can’t go on forever.
    Mahalo for reading.
    -Adam

  3. Nakeli says:

    Why not windmills on Molokai? Why not industry on Molokai? Why not sustain your preferred lifestyle? Sustainability has to be the answer. The people of Molokai must be able to sustain themselves. When I was a young child on Molokai we had our own dairies. I remember the electric company and soda bottling plant along with the two movie theaters and the bowling alley. Everyone had a garden and traded or sold their vegetable and fruits. We raised our own pigs, chickens, and occasionally a calf (for an upcoming luau). My grandfather was a fisherman and he usually gave away more fish then he sold. Back then people worked for Dole or Del Monte or for Molokai Ranch. Of course our population was five times what it is today. Even with all those people and all that industry people were able to maintain the “Molokai” lifestyle.

    I don’t understand where Molokai is headed. The people of my youth abhorred the killing of animals to make a point. When Molokai Ranch tried to bring wild animals to attrack tourists or created their ECO Friendly camp that was before it’s time it seemed that the people of Molokai were determined to block their efforts. The fact that both of these endeavors used the land in a way which did not in anyway contradict the teaching of our Hawaiian ancestors seemed to have been lost on the objectors. In reality. had the wild animal park been allowed to exist the people who would have benefited the most would have been the peoples of Hawaii. Mainlanders would not go that far to see something which they can see closer to home and for less money. The people that would have been drawn to Molokai would have been other Hawaiians getting an education about wildlife. It also would have helped to preserve some of these species for prosperity. The animals enhanced the land and did no harm. The park created jobs and a cycle of sustainability. Gone are the animals, gone is Molokai Ranch, gone are the jobs, gone is that cycle of sustainability.

    Objectors what have you created in it’s place? What is your solution to the problems of Molokai. Gone are the days when you can say leave us alone, if you don’t like it, leave. You chased away Molokai Ranch and now you have to deal with the McMansion monster you allowed in it’s place. Remember to every action there is a reaction and to every choice is a consequence.

    People of Molokai it is up to you to decide your fate. You can take control and work together to make Molokai what you want it to be or you can be laidback and let the people with the radical agenda continue to block every opportunity towards sustainability that comes your way. It only took a very few years for the population to decrease from 35,000 to 6500. If something is not done soon the young people will continue to leave and the old people will die off and the rest of Molokai will become like the Leper Colony, a lonely place where dreams died.

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