Location of proposed wind farm raises concerns

Location of proposed wind farm raises concerns

First Wind's wind farm sits north of 300-plus homes in Kahuku's Koolau housing area. Now another wind farm company -- Champlin GEI Wind Holdings -- wants to plant 15 more wind turbines above Kahuku.

The Kahuku Community Association opposes the idea. The group has collected more than 1,000 signatures on a petition to stop the project.

"We object to the proximity of these machines to our neighborhood, to our elementary school and to the high school," association member Kent Fonoimoana said.

The California company said it has made concessions in its plan by moving the closest wind turbine back to about 2,000 feet from the nearest home. The Kahuku Community Association wants a buffer zone of at least 4,000 feet, partially because of health concerns over the hum from the machines.

"The research shows that it affects equilibrium. It's difficult on young children's concentration," Kahuku resident Aliitasi Ponder said.

Fonoimoana also worries that property values will plummet and more wind turbines will prevent people from installing photovoltaic systems because there won't be room for them on the grid.

"If you go on HECO's map and you check out the saturation level, Kahuku is already at or beyond the 100 percent saturation rate," he said.

Champlin did not return calls from Hawaii News Now asking for comment. The company will hold a community meeting tomorrow at 6:30 p.m. at the Kahuku Community Center. Champlin officials plan to address health concerns. Fonoimoana hopes to be able to also share the Community Association's other concerns.

"We object to being surrounded by windmills. By surrounding our community there is going to be strong opposition," he said.

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