Waianae is offered opportunities to produce electricity

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At the general meeting of the Waianae Neighborhood Board on April 4, 2014, Randy Stevens presented  a proposal for the EURUS Energy America Corporation regarding a 200-acre photovoltaic (PV) farm. The business intends to sell its solar power to Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO) after it is up and running. The corporation is owned by Toyota and Tokyo Electric Power, which has been developing global solar energy for over twenty years. The solar farm will be built on 200 of 800 acres of conservation land owned by the Olson Trust and located on Ag-2  zoned land behind Kamaile Academy School in Waianae. The company proposes to provide enough power for 10,000 homes.  HECO will meet with the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) in July 2014 to discuss the power purchase agreement (PPA). Stevens commented that there are about 25 other companies competing for a solar contract with HECO.

Stevens informed the board members that the PV panels will have low impact on the neighborhood and will emit no radiation. Solar farm projects do not affect residential grids and will not affect their grid saturation. The Board of Water Supply has indicated that the project will not impact their wells. The business will employ four people on the site,  be secured by a fence with lighting and cameras, and will operate for 30 years. Upon termination, the panels will be removed and recycled. The project will create four full-time positions and 75 part-time jobs, and the corporation encourages hiring locally. Stevens added that the business plans to work with the community and help Kamaile Academy with landscape beautification. They will conduct a rubbish cleanup in the area during April 2014. They also intend to gather community  input throughout the proposal process.

Chairperson Johnnie-Mae Perry directed a committee to draw up a list of community concerns and demands which were voiced at the meeting. There were comments made about an existing heiau, the appearance of the mountainside after solar installations, a possible discount on electric bills for Waianae residents, and requests for other community benefits.

Other solar projects will be discussed at the next Waianae Neighborhood Board meeting on Tuesday, May 6, 2014, at 7:00 P.M. There will be a solar farm presentation by Dawn N.S. Chang, consultant for NextEra Energy, concerning 75 acres owned by David Wong. In addition, HECO’s environment assessment draft for the Kahe Photovoltaic Project will be discussed. The board meeting will be held at Waianae District Park, Multi-Purpose Room, 7:00-9:30 P.M. The public is welcome to attend the meeting and participate.

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