Endangered species in Hawaii threatened by planned wind farm

How does an electricity-generating plant count as "green" and worthy of subsidy if it will slaughter some of the remaining members of an endangered species?  A battle is going on right now in Hawaii over a proposed wind farm that admits that it will be lethal and seeks government permission to commence the killing. 

Hawaii News Now reports:

An endangered native bat is at the center of a fight over a controversial wind farm proposal on Oahu's North Shore. Concerned residents showed up for Monday's contested case hearing for the Na Pua Makani project in Kahuku.

The facility would include 8 or 9 wind turbines. The developer, Na Pua Makani Power Partners, considered different models ranging from 427 feet to 656 feet in height. A company spokesman said the wind turbine generators used in the project will be 500 to 600 feet tall. The developer is seeking a permit that would allow the project to harm or kill certain threatened and endangered species, including 51 Hawaiian hoary bats over a 21 year period.

The partnership [i] that seeks to build the bird blenders has put together a hundred-some-page "mitigation plan" to reduce the impact and claims that there would be no net reduction in numbers.

Critics, however, aren't convinced the steps will make any difference.

"Currently, all major wind farms in Hawaii have exceeded their amount of take that they've been approved for. In fact, the two existing wind farms on Oahu have already killed over 70 bats in just a few years of operation," said Maxx Phillips, an attorney for Keep the North Shore Country.

The question is acute in Hawaii because of an endangered species at risk.  Extinction is forever, as they say.  And Hawaii is already plagued by at least five abandoned ghost energy farms, whose maintenance expenses were so high that the owners walked away.  If you wonder why native Hawaiians seek to halt this plant on the grounds of desecration of their sacred land, consider the spectacle of this abandoned wreck:


Image via webecoistsky#walkerCenter for Land Use InterpretationTerminal Tower.

How do wind farms, which slaughter, at a minimum, hundreds of thousands of birds annually (some say millions), get counted as "environmentally friendly" and qualify for all sorts of subsidies?  Why are they allowed to kill bald eagles, when you and I would go to prison if we did so?

And why do we subsidize the slaughter?

 Hat tip: Peter von Buol


[i] I suspect that the choice of a partnership over a corporate vehicle for construction of the power plant has a lot to do with flowing through tax benefits to the investors.

How does an electricity-generating plant count as "green" and worthy of subsidy if it will slaughter some of the remaining members of an endangered species?  A battle is going on right now in Hawaii over a proposed wind farm that admits that it will be lethal and seeks government permission to commence the killing. 

Hawaii News Now reports:

An endangered native bat is at the center of a fight over a controversial wind farm proposal on Oahu's North Shore. Concerned residents showed up for Monday's contested case hearing for the Na Pua Makani project in Kahuku.

The facility would include 8 or 9 wind turbines. The developer, Na Pua Makani Power Partners, considered different models ranging from 427 feet to 656 feet in height. A company spokesman said the wind turbine generators used in the project will be 500 to 600 feet tall. The developer is seeking a permit that would allow the project to harm or kill certain threatened and endangered species, including 51 Hawaiian hoary bats over a 21 year period.

The partnership [i] that seeks to build the bird blenders has put together a hundred-some-page "mitigation plan" to reduce the impact and claims that there would be no net reduction in numbers.

Critics, however, aren't convinced the steps will make any difference.

"Currently, all major wind farms in Hawaii have exceeded their amount of take that they've been approved for. In fact, the two existing wind farms on Oahu have already killed over 70 bats in just a few years of operation," said Maxx Phillips, an attorney for Keep the North Shore Country.

The question is acute in Hawaii because of an endangered species at risk.  Extinction is forever, as they say.  And Hawaii is already plagued by at least five abandoned ghost energy farms, whose maintenance expenses were so high that the owners walked away.  If you wonder why native Hawaiians seek to halt this plant on the grounds of desecration of their sacred land, consider the spectacle of this abandoned wreck:


Image via webecoistsky#walkerCenter for Land Use InterpretationTerminal Tower.

How do wind farms, which slaughter, at a minimum, hundreds of thousands of birds annually (some say millions), get counted as "environmentally friendly" and qualify for all sorts of subsidies?  Why are they allowed to kill bald eagles, when you and I would go to prison if we did so?

And why do we subsidize the slaughter?

 Hat tip: Peter von Buol


[i] I suspect that the choice of a partnership over a corporate vehicle for construction of the power plant has a lot to do with flowing through tax benefits to the investors.

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