Proposed Interisland Transmission Cable System Scrutinized

March 15, 2013, 10:59 AM HST · Updated March 15, 11:40 AM
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Kahaewa wind project. File photo.

File photo of unrelated wind project on Maui.

By Wendy Osher

Two House representatives from Maui joined colleagues in introducing resolutions this week that seek alternatives to a proposed inter-island undersea transmission cable system powered by wind generation on the outer islands.

Representatives Mele Carroll and Angus McKelvey were among the state lawmakers that introduced the two House companion resolutions, HR150 and HCR189, on Wednesday.

The resolutions urge the governor and Public Utilities Commission to seek alternatives to the industrial wind generation facilities and inter-island high-voltage undersea electric transmission cable system proposed for the islands of Molokai and Lanai.

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Act 165, which passed last session, authorized the construction and development of the system to link the electricity consumers of the island of Oahu to the wind energy generation facilities located on other islands of the state.

Lawmakers that drafted the resolutions said that “although the development of the system is innovative and seemingly attractive,” the placement of wind energy generation facilities,” they said, “could have a profoundly negative impact on the communities surrounding the facilities.”

The resolutions outline potential safety dangers associated with turbine operation, and also noted the opposition voiced by some residents and community groups on the islands where construction is proposed.

Although Act 165 authorizes a regulatory structure for the construction of the system, the resolution states that the law does not require the construction of the system.

The resolutions seek island-specific alternatives and asks that the state explore and develop energy options that may be “less disruptive” to the environment and community.

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