Saturday, March 05, 2011
Molokai News covers public meeting on windfarm plan
by Larry Geller
The Molokai News website reported on a public meeting held on the island by Molokai Ranch to inform the public about its plans for a windfarm to supply Oahu with electricity.
The meeting revealed that the project will result in only 10-20 local jobs, while 200-300 workers will be brought in along with needed infrastructure. This might be a warning to Oahu rail advocates. Nothing says that construction jobs will go to locals.
But more significant is the coercion revealed by Molokai Properties president and CEO Peter Nicholas, as reported in the article. It seems the state is so insistent on completing this project that they threatened to take his private land to do it:
Nicholas said the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism told him the State could condemn its land under eminent domain law if they don’t agree on a project.
“The governor mentioned this as imperative,” said Nicholas. “The ramifications of condemnation are not particularly nice to anyone, it hurts everyone.”
According to Nicholas, DBEDT had been planning a large wind energy project with Hawaii Electric Company between 2008 and 2010 but never consulted Molokai Ranch. Nicholas had no explanation for this lack of communication. Now that MPL is being pressured by the State to use its land for a proposed 200-megawatt wind project (or possibly 400 mw depending on whether the Castle and Cooke project on Lanai proceeds) the time has come to update the community and seek its input.
The article gives the impression that Molokai residents are being held hostage to Oahu’s energy-guzzling needs. There will be few local jobs created, and little, if any, benefit to Molokai residents from this project. And to top it off, the state was willing to effectively steal land on Molokai for the benefit of Oahu residents.
What say does anyone on Molokai have in this? Apparently none.
For up-to-the-moment information on the Molokai windfarm project and its controversies, tune in to the tweets from the Molokai News. The website has also covered progress in Lanai over their own windfarm project.
I would be interested in finding out if those 200 to 300 jobs are being filled by skilled workers from Oahu because those skiled workers are not available on Molokai. If that's the case then I have no problem with the worker situation. I have heard that fifty percent of Molokai's population is collecting welfare from the state, just about all of that coming from Oahu taxpayers. Because of this I feel that Molokai benefits greatly if Oahu can reduce it's dependency on oil. I may be entirely off base in my reasoning and if so I would like to hear other opinions on this matter.
Look at this chart for a real view on Oahu energy guzzling.