KAILUA-KONA — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently published a notice of intent to prepare a draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement addressing the potential effects of operations and maintenance activities on the endangered Hawaiian hoary bat, Hawaiian goose and Hawaiian petrel at four wind farms in the state, including one in Ka‘u.
The draft statement will address the draft habitat conservation plan for the Pakini Nui Wind Farm, and amendments to three existing plans: Auwahi Wind and Kaheawa Wind Power II projects on Maui, and the Kawailoa Wind Power project on Oahu. The four wind energy facilities are already constructed and in operation.
The Pakini Nui Wind Farm began generating electricity in March 2007. Developed by Tawhiri Power, the farm comprises 14 1.5 megawatt wind turbines. It’s capable of producing close to 21 MW of electricity, which is estimated to be enough to power 10,000 homes, according to the state Energy Office.
The public scoping period for the draft PEIS will continues through July 2. A Hawaii Island meeting is slated 6-8 p.m. June 18 at the Naalehu Community Center.
The service determined a combined PEIS is the most efficient and comprehensive approach for considering the cumulative impacts of these wind projects because of similarities in their geography, impact, covered species and proposed mitigation measures.
Under Section 10 of the Endangered Species Act, habitat conservation plans are voluntary agreements between the Service and a landowner, private company or nonfederal agency that ensure harmful effects to threatened and endangered species are avoided, minimized or offset.
During the public scoping period, the service is requesting information and recommendations on the issues to be included in the draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement, including input on the appropriateness of our intent to develop a single statement addressing four separate permit decisions. The service will consider all written or verbal comments received or postmarked by July 2.
The notice, as well as where to send comments, can be available online at www.fws.gov/pacificislands.