Maui wind energy
plan gets state OK

The GE/Hawi venture will install
27 turbines on conservation land

By Diana Leone

A plan to produce electricity using wind energy is moving forward again after state approval yesterday of GE Wind Energy and Hawi Renewable Development Inc. to lease conservation land for the 20-megawatt project in the West Maui mountains.

The Board of Land and Natural Resources chose the partnership after Land Division administrator Diedre Mamiya said it was the more likely of two competitors to get a successful wind power project going sooner.

Hawaii Wind Energy LLC and Global Renewable Energy Partners also had sought a lease on the same land for a similar project. Representatives of the company protested Mamiya's recommendation, but were not available for comment after the decision.

Mamiya said she recommended the GE/Hawi venture because:

>> It has six years of wind data for the site.
>> Its application to sell power to Maui Electric is further along.
>> It has secured financing.
>> It has been consistent, clear and timely in its proposals.

"We're happy the board made the right decision. We felt the facts were overwhelming," said Richard Horn, president of the Chico, Calif.-based Hawi Development, which will be responsible for building and managing the facility. GE will provide technical assistance.

Horn said he expects that his company will reach a lease agreement with the state and a power sales agreement with Maui Electric in the next few months. Then it will have to seek approval from the state Public Utilities Commission before it can begin construction on the site.

The project will place 27 or more wind turbines on 10 acres of state conservation land rising from the 2,000- to 3,300-foot elevation level between Maalaea and Olowalu. It is essentially the same project previously approved by the board for Zond Pacific two years ago; since then GE Wind acquired Zond and the permit for the project lapsed.

The Life of the Land environmental advocacy group didn't take sides as to which partnership the land board should select, president Henry Curtis said yesterday. "But we're very happy that a wind project is moving forward. We feel GE and Hawi Renewable Development are a good choice to move forward with the wind project on Maui."

Board of Land and Natural Resources
GE Wind Energy

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