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Celebrating Alternatives

Caption by Catherine Cluett, photo ©PF Bentley/PFPix.com

Molokai hosted its first Alternative Energy Festival last weekend, organized by I Aloha Molokai, a community group that opposes industrial wind turbines on the island. The festival featured panel discussions on the state’s proposed Big Wind project, alternatives to that plan, workshops on topics from how to dry food to how to finance a small photovoltaic system, entertainment by acclaimed musicians such as Amy Hanaiali`i, and a youth poster contest. Above, musicians from the group Molokai Drums gave a debut performance to open the festival.

Four hundred fifty feet above the Mitchell Pauole Center floated a large helium-filled balloon to demonstrate the height of the proposed wind turbines on Molokai. The goal of the two-day event was to initiate an exchange of information about how local residents can reduce their electric bills and dependence on fossil fuel, as well as better understand the dangers and alternatives to large-scale industrial wind farms.

“Be maka`ala [careful],” warned panelist and UH professor Devianna McGregor. “Don’t fall for short term benefits [proposed by wind energy companies.] In the long run, wind farms will destroy our way of life.”

Below, local resident and Rising Sun Solar representative Matt Yamashita (right) – one of the many exhibitors and contractors represented at the event – discusses photovoltaic options with festival attendees.

The event was made possible through Office of Hawaiian Affairs funding.


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