Last update:
2022-11-16

Na Pua Makani Wind Project, Hawaii, USA

In pursuit of reaching “100 percent renewable energy generation by 2045", the Na Pua Makani Project creates environmental injustice in Kahuku community that do not even get to use most of the clean energy that they are producing



Description:

Wind turbine projects are exponentially increasing across the United States in an effort to transition from global fossil fuel dependence to renewable energy products. Wind turbines work by utilizing to “turn the propeller-like blades of [the] turbine around a rotor, which spins a generator, which creates electricity” [1]. In Hawaii, specifically on the island of Oahu, there have been 49 wind turbines constructed since 2011 [2]. Most recently, the Na Pua Makani Project was constructed in 2020 in the area of Kahuku, producing 24 megawatts annually [3]. The Na Pua Makani Project was constructed by Na Pua Makani Power Partners, LLC owned by AES Corporation, an electric power distribution company headquartered in Arlington County, VA [4]. The wind project located in Kahuku is located near two other operational wind turbine projects; the Klondike 1 Project, and the Kahuku Project. 

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Na Pua Makani Wind Project, Hawaii, USA
Country:United States of America
State or province:Hawaii
Location of conflict:Kahuku
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Fossil Fuels and Climate Justice/Energy
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Large-scale wind energy plants
Specific commodities:Land
Electricity
Project Details and Actors
Project details

Those most engaged stakeholders in the project include Na Pua Makani Power Partners LLC, its parent company AES, the Hawaii State Energy Office, Keep the North Shore Country, Ku Kia'i Kahuku, and the Kahuku residents. The Na Pua Makani Wind Project followed the trend of increased wind energy on Oahu, specifically in the town of Kahuku. The project is currently operational and includes eight, 568-foot wind turbines. The project also generates 24 megawatts of electricity annually that is put onto the Oahu energy grid. The wind project most directly impacts the town of Kahuku, home to 2,119 residents and around 590 hectares of land. The closest turbine is 1,700 feet from the closest home and exactly 1,750 feet from the Kahuku High school.

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Project area:590
Level of Investment for the conflictive projectUnavailable
Type of populationSemi-urban
Affected Population:2,119
Start of the conflict:01/10/2015
End of the conflict:05/04/2021
Company names or state enterprises:AES Corporation (https://www.aes.com/) from United States of America
Relevant government actors:Hawaii Supreme Court
Hawaii State Energy Office
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Keep the North Shore Countyhttps://www.keepthenorthshorecountry.org/
Ku Kia'i Kahuku
https://www.facebook.com/KuKiaiKahuku/?ref=page_internal
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Neighbours/citizens/communities
Kahuku people
Forms of mobilization:Blockades
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Property damage/arson
Impacts
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution
Health ImpactsVisible: Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide
Potential: Other Health impacts
Other Health impactsDizziness, concern for people who suffer from photosensitive epilepsy and experience seizures, sleep disturbances.
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Loss of landscape/sense of place
Potential: Displacement, Loss of livelihood
Other socio-economic impactsProperty value decline
Outcome
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Court decision (failure for environmental justice)
Proposal and development of alternatives:To date, there are limited proposals surrounding the Na Pua Makani Wind Project. Kahuku community members want access to safer renewable energy technologies besides wind power. This could include solar energy, geothermal, ocean energy, bioenergy, and more. Many community members feel that their voices and opinions must be heard. Opposition members feel that citizens are excluded from the decision-making process and have little opportunity to state their opinions. This issue may be resolved in the future with increased community engagement in the proposal stage of renewable energy development.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:Environmental justice has not been served to the Kahuku residents. Today, 20 turbines surround the small town, impacting the low-income community. Although the project provides benefits to the greater Oahu and Hawaii areas, the citizens of Kahuku are burdened with noise pollution, decreasing property values, shadow flicker, and wildlife impacts. Environmental justice has not been served to the Kahuku community.
Sources & Materials

[1] Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. 2020.
[click to view]

[2] USGS. November 2021.
[click to view]

[3] AES. 2021. Na Pua Makani
[click to view]

[4] OpenCorporates. August 27, 2019. Na Pua Makani Power Partners, LLC
[click to view]

[5] Horgan, TJ. National Wind Watch. October 13, 2019. Oahu Residents Hold Peaceful Protest Against Wind Turbine Project.
[click to view]

[6] Hawaii State Energy Office. 2021. State of Hawaii: Energy Policy Directives.
[click to view]

[7] US Energy Information Administration. January 21, 2021. Hawaii.
[click to view]

[8] Nonapua. 2019. Honolulu Approves Construction of Most Dangerous Wind Farm Ever Built in the United States.
[click to view]

[9] Brown, Kevin. National Wind Watch. December 3, 2019. Oahu residents unite to protest the construction of more towering wind turbines in Kahuku.
[click to view]

[10] MichiganSeagrant. Wind Power and Human Health.
[click to view]

[11] WorldPopulationReview. Oahu Population, 2021.
[click to view]

[12] Lovell, Blaze. Honolulu Civil Beat. October 18, 2019. Wind Farm Protesters Arrested As They Blockade Road For Construction Vehicles.
[click to view]

[14] Keep the North Shore Country. 2021.
[click to view]

[15] USGS. June 2017. Ecology and Distribution of the Endangered Hawaiian Hoary Bat.
[click to view]

[16] Department of Land and Natural Resources. February 2022. State Supreme Court Unanimously Upholds BLNR decision on Na Pua Makani Wind Project.
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

[13] KHON2 News. Kahuku Wind Farm Na Pua Makani.
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Skidmore College - Finn Weber, [email protected]; Lowery Parker, [email protected]
Last update16/11/2022
Conflict ID:5766
Comments
Legal notice / Aviso legal
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