HONOLULU (KHON2) — Officials say parts of the wind turbine were scheduled to be transported to Kahuku late Sunday night, but those against the wind farm project have blocked access at Kalaeloa and Kahuku. The company behind the controversial wind farm project has 6 weeks to transport its turbines to the North Shore. Demonstrators tell us they’re prepared to stay as long as it takes to get their message across.
“We’re glad just to have the Mauna and Sherwood, we are all backing each other up,” said Kamalani Keliikuli of Ku Kiai Kahuku. “We’re tired, tired of the government ignoring us. Tired of the mainland corporations just coming in and taking over and not listening to us.”
AES, the company behind the wind project in Kahuku, was not available for an interview but sent us this statement from Mark Miller, AES chief operating officer for U.S. Generation:
“After considering a multitude of factors in real-time last night, we decided to hold back to ensure we can safely execute the component transport to Nā Pua Makani with as minimal disruption to residents as possible. We are coordinating a complex move that relies on collaboration with government agencies, such as the Honolulu Police Department and Department of Transportation, to keep the roads and community-at-large are safe as we make our way up to the North Shore.”
Ku Kiai Kahuku tells us they would ultimately like to see the additional wind turbines be pushed back away from homes or not be built all.
“There are so many ways they could’ve gone about it but they want to put it close to our community. We already have some, they wanted to put it closer and a lot bigger. There’s so much land here. There is so much in other places they could’ve put, but they are putting it right here,” said Sena Fomoimoana, a resident and group member.
Ku Kiai Kahuku says they plan on being here 24/7 at least until November 26th, which is how long the equipment transportation was supposed to take.
We asked the state transportation department if the permit deadline needed to be extended how would it impact other events held on the North Shore later in the year. The state says:
“Should they submit additional permit requests, HDOT will review and respond accordingly. As surfing competitions are daytime events, we do not anticipate the permitted closures will have significant impact.”
Under the current permit to get the wind turbines to Kahuku, there may be nightly traffic delays between 11 at night and 5 in the morning on the H-1 and H-2 freeways and Kamehameha Highway. About 6 miles of the highway, from Waimea Bay to Kawela Beach Road, would be closed daily between 12 and 2:30 in the morning.