+ Why do we need another renewable energy project?
Renewable energy is essential to Hawaii’s future. Renewable energy projects reduce our reliance on imported fossil fuels that pollute our air and contribute to our high cost of living. Renewable energy will also offset carbon emissions and address the growing threat of climate change, a problem that will affect Hawaii greatly.
+ Why wind energy instead of another type of renewable energy?
Wind is an essential part of the renewable energy mix needed to meet Hawaii’s 100 percent renewable energy goal. Wind energy provides an independent source of power for Hawaii and is also one of the most economical sources of renewable energy. Wind generates cheaper electricity on less land area than other sources of power such as solar. Solar only generates energy duirng the day and storage technology is still new and inefficient. Wind energy can be generated day or night, which is especially helpful in the evening during peak energy usage.
+ How do you harvest wind energy?
Modern wind turbines use large blades rotated by the wind, driving a generator that converts the energy into electricity.
The power produced by wind turbines runs through underground wires to a substation, which adjusts the voltage of the power. After leaving the substation, the power joins the electric grid, flowing to homes and businesses.
+ How tall are the turbines?
The turbines, from base to hub, are about 260 feet tall.
+ Why are the turbines so tall?
Taller turbines generate more power, allowing us to minimize the number of turbines located on the site.
+ Will this project lower our electricity bill?
Palehua Wind will sell power to Hawaiian Electric at a rate that is 63% cheaper than the current average rate at which Hawaiian Electric buys power (Jan 2019 Oahu residential rates).
Health and Safety
+ Do wind turbines cause health issues?
In 2014, a comprehensive peer reviewed study on the health effects of wind turbines was published in Frontiers in Public Health. Researchers found no evidence that wind turbines cause physiological health issues. Additional independent studies have supported this conclusion.
+ Will this project create a fire risk from battery storage?
Eurus Energy does not plan on using battery storage for Palehua Wind.
+ How will the project reduce fire risk?
Dry grasses and invasive species on the mountain threaten residents’ health and homes. Funds from the Palehua project will support the restoration of the land through the planting of native flora, which will naturally reduce the fire risk. Over the course of the project, we will maintain the general area, as well as roads that provide improved access for emergency vehicles and act as fire breaks to lower the risk of wildfires.
+ Will the wind turbines kill birds and other wildlife?
We are committed to minimizing harm to birds and other wildlife. Eurus Energy is working with local environmental firms to complete extensive biological and environmental studies over the next two years to ensure minimal ecological impact.
The National Audubon Society, an organization that focuses on protecting birds, strongly supports properly sited wind power as a renewable energy source.
The effects of climate change are a threat to both birds and humans. Unchecked, climate change will devastate global biodiversity, making it harder for plant and animal species to live. Renewable energy can replace the burning of fossil fuels that cause significant carbon emission.
Project Details and Process
+ Why does this project need to be built at this location?
Wind energy projects must be built in the right spot, where wind resources are abundant. Studies have identified Palehua as the last remaining site to build a wind farm on Oahu. The other sites identified were the North Shore, which already has two wind projects, and Kaʻena Point, which is a protected State park and too far from existing transmission lines. For more information, see Hawaiian Electric's wind maps.
+ Why can’t we keep things the way they are?
Climate change has the increasing potential to cause significant damage to the state’s natural environment. The key to reversing these detrimental realities is to reduce greenhouse gases. Hawaii’s 100 percent renewable energy portfolio sets the standard that the rest of the world will follow, with Palehua Wind being an integral piece of that goal.
The Palehua area has suffered for years from damage caused by erosion, invasive species and wildfires. Restoration efforts in partnership with Gill Ewa Lands and cultural experts will return native species to Palehua, restore animal habitats, protect the watershed, reduce fire risk and preserve important cultural sites.
+ How will this project benefit the local community?
The project itself will reduce the risk of fire to surrounding areas by adding fire breaks and access roads, creating a safer environment for nearby homes.
This project will also support the restoration efforts of Gill Ewa Lands, which include plans for reforestation and reintroduction of native species to mitigate erosion damage and protect the watershed. All these efforts will have a positive impact on the surrounding environment and help preserve the land for years to come.
Our plans include not only preserving cultural sites, but also providing opportunities to enable greater access to them for educational and cultural purposes.
Hawaii’s growing wind energy sector is creating new jobs. According to the Department of Labor, wind turbine technician is one of America's two fastest-growing jobs.
+ How is Eurus Energy addressing the concerns of the community?
We understand that residents have concerns about the auditory, visual and environmental impacts of this project. We’re committed to minimizing the auditory and visual impact by placing turbines in areas that are less intrusive, in some cases locating them in areas that will not allow the turbines to leverage maximum wind resources.
The environmental and cultural impact of the project is being taken seriously, and we are undergoing multiple studies to help us minimize this impact. No turbines will be sited on protected or conservation land.
+ Do wind turbines lower property values?
According to a major federal study, property values do not diminish while projects are under development or in operation.
+ Will residents be able to see or hear the turbines?
Palehua Wind is designed to be minimally intrusive. Turbines will be located approximately 3.5 miles from Kapolei High School and one mile from Nanakuli High School, separated by a ridge. We understand the concerns of residents, which is why we are doing everything we can to reduce the visual and auditory impact.
+ What are you doing to protect cultural sites?
We are committed to preserving cultural sites and are working closely with cultural experts to determine the best way to manage the area’s cultural significance. We are conducting all required cultural studies, in addition to other cultural investigations not required by the permitting process. As part of the project, we are consulting with Native Hawaiian leaders to understand the cultural importance of sites within the wind project area and how cultural practitioners can best be accommodated.
+ How can I keep track of project updates and public meetings?
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+ What if I have a question that is not listed?
Please submit questions to our team here.