Dangers of an Industrial Wind Factory on Molokai
Opinion by Mike Bond
Although the vast majority of Molokai people strongly oppose the proposed industrial wind factory, many do not realize how really bad it is. `Aha Ki`ole recently took a survey of Molokai’s opinion: out of 469 people, 437 (93 percent) are against the windmills, while 4 percent are in favor and 3 percent are undecided.
From 30 years’ experience in the energy and investment business, I have rarely seen a project with such devastating effects on the human and natural environment: 90 turbine towers, each 42 storeis high (almost half the World Trade Center) on 22,000 acres across west Molokai; each tower has three blades, each the size of a Boeing 747 wing; towers spaced a quarter-mile apart, a huge picket wall visible for mile; Kaunakakai Harbor may have to be deepened or a new port built at Hale o Lono; a huge road will be built for the construction project, as well as transmission lines, switching stations and other industrial facilities; and if this first phase is approved, further phases may be built from Kawela to Halawa.
Or such a potential financial disaster:
• Reduced property values (who wants to live near the towers? Or see or hear them?)
• Lower rental incomes from condos and homes (same reasons)
• Higher electricity rates, senate bill 367 saddles the people of Hawaii with all the costs and financial risks, while the developers take all the profits.
• None of its power will be available for Molokai or any island except Oahu.
• It will destroy the visual magnificence of one of the world’s most beautiful coastal areas, land sacred to many generations of Hawaiians, destroy countless Hawaiian burial grounds (the developers say they will mitigate this, but it is inevitable).
• Hunting, hiking, and other outdoor activities will be reduced.
• Its construction will turn west Molokai and Kaunakakai into an industrial site, with noise, dust, and traffic jams.
• Its influx of short-term workers will overwhelm Molokai’s social equilibrium, impacting housing, health, schools, and emergency and other services.
• Although the developers promise to pay a bond for its removal in 20 years, such bonds rarely match inflation or removal costs. Many defunct wind projects like Hawai`i Island’s are simply abandoned.
• Turbines slaughter birds and bats (they chop the birds to pieces and their wind force explodes the bats’ lungs). The developers promise to mitigate this, but similar promises on Hawai`i Island have not been fulfilled.
• The billion-dollar cable to Oahu will endanger monk seals, humpback whales and other marine species.
• It is being shoved down our throats as fast as possible, with no examination of better options like roof-mounted solar on Oahu. HECO doesn’t like this alternative because they can’t charge for it.
• Wind power is 88 percent more expensive than natural gas generation. Enough natural gas is available from the Middle East, via LNG shipments, for hundreds of years.
• Industrial wind projects cost taxpayers $1.6 million and cost the economy 2.5 jobs for every job they create.
• 70 industrial wind projects in the U.S. are now facing lawsuits from local residents due to similar social and environmental impacts.