Wednesday, October 06, 2010


Who’s Zooming Who?

By Henry Curtis

HECO has received funds via the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, also known as ARRA, the Stimulus, or the Recovery Act, which became effective in February of that year.

There is a windfarm at Kaheawa, Maui, mauka of Ma`alaea Harbor. A second phase was proposed in 2006. MECO filed its proposed Power Purchase Agreement for Kaheawa Wind Partners II (KWP II) with the PUC on Oct. 4, 2010.

MECO has known about the project for 4 years, is familiar with the Stimulus Bill, and is aware, as documented in the their own filing, that the turbines were built by 2008.

The deadline for the public to intervene is Oct. 24, 2010. The PUC usually takes at least a few weeks to decide on intervention. The earliest reasonable date for a decision on intervention would be Nov. 15, 2010.

In the filing with the PUC, MECO wrote: “KWPII has informed MECO that a decision and order from the Commission by November 30, 2010 is required if KWPII is to qualify for the [Stimulus Bill] federal grant.”

Thus state regulators are being asked to ram through the approvals and to deny any reasonable motions to intervene.

Is this the new utility or the old utility?


Thanks for the report, Henry, and for all your fabulous research and advocacy. It should be noted that MECO actually preferred another wind project (Shell Wind in Ulupalakua, now Sempra Wind-22MW) until First Wind (Kaheawa) sued HECO /MECO to get their project considered. What has changed is that instead of locating the project on the next ridge over from the existing 30 MW, 20 turbine site, they now want to go down slope on the same ridge. Probably less concerns for native plants and animals, but more visual impact. I agree that HECO has done a lousy job of using federal funds and inviting public input. The previous Kaheawa Wind project had one of the most complete EIS documents I have ever seen. The humbug has been lack of (battery) storage and insufficient integration of wind power into the MECO grid. On average, MECO uses only about 10MW of the 30 max capable. To answer Henry's final question, this is the OLD utility. Still looking to monopolize the power supply. Our state legislators and the new administration have a tall task in bringing about a shift to morph HECO from a power generating utility to a power transmitting utility.

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