Kahuku residents generate heat at wind turbine meeting

Kahuku residents generate heat at wind turbine meeting
Published: Jan. 16, 2014 at 2:48 AM HST|Updated: Jan. 16, 2014 at 4:18 AM HST
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KAHUKU, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The meeting may have been about wind power, but there was heated discussion as well from Kahuku residents skeptical about another wind farm project proposed in their area.

Nearly a hundred Kahuku residents jammed the Kahuku Community Center Wednesday night for the meeting, which was focused on the health impacts of 15 wind turbines that are proposed for the Na Pua Makani facility.

Before that discussion could begin, there was frustration generated from residents who wanted Hawaiian Electric Company at the meeting, which was called by state Rep. Richard Fale (R-Haleiwa, Waialua, Laie, Kahuku).

"This is our meeting, not yours. This is our meeting," one resident told Fale.

"So should we end the meeting then? The issues that were relayed to my office..." said Fale.

"Our meeting. Our meeting," the resident responded.

There were also some who were concerned that the facility is already a done deal.

"Project design has already been done," said Kent Fonoimoana, a member of the Kahuku Community Association. "Community outreach is being done now?"

The company that plans to build the 15 wind turbines, Champlin GEI Holdings of California, brought in Dr. Robert McCunney, a recognized expert on the health impacts of wind turbines. he said there may be noise, and it may be annoying.

"Some people may become annoyed by the sound of wind turbines, but this is not a disease," the Harvard Medical School physician told the gathering. "The major cause of concern from wind turbine noise is the fluctuating nature of it."

Residents were skeptical about those findings, saying that the turbines will be too close to homes. Champlin GEI said it had already moved the closest wind turbine back to about 2,000 feet from the nearest home.

Not far enough for some, who cited other studies.

"Elsewhere in this book it suggests that proper setbacks from residential properties should be one and-a-quarter miles from a large wind farm," said resident Alan Lloyd, who brought a book about power generation.

The company said it plans to have more meetings in the future to discuss the wind energy project. But judging from the response, the wind farm may be a hard sell for Kahuku residents.

"The state needs to do something for us, yes. And we need clean energy, yes," said Kahuku resident Candy Greene. "But take these the hell away from people's homes, schools, businesses and human life, period."

Previous story: Location of proposed wind farm raises concerns

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