Nā Pua Makani
Nā Pua Makani is a wind energy project in Kahuku that will harness the plentiful wind resources of O‘ahu’s North Shore and convert it into renewable, sustainable energy for the island. The project is slated to be operational in Summer 2020.
Nā Pua Makani
Nā Pua Makani is one of the low-cost electricity resources in the state of Hawaiʻi. Set to begin operation by Summer 2020, the wind farm includes 8 turbines, each about 568 feet from the base to the tip of rotors, able to generate enough electricity to power approximately 16,000 homes annually. The electricity generated by Nā Pua Makani will be purchased by Hawaiian Electric and used to meet the electricity needs of the residents of Oʻahu, reducing Oʻahu’s dependence on expensive imported fossil fuels and improving air quality. The project will reduce CO2 greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 70,000 tons. This is equivalent to taking off the road approximately 13,000 passenger vehicles for an entire year. Nā Pua Makani is also committed to its surrounding community, supporting vital initiatives in the areas most important to Kahuku and the North Shore through contributions to the development of a North Shore recreation center as well as to local nonprofits and schools.
Benefits Of Nā Pua Makani
On August 11, 2020, Hawaiian Electric completed work to connect the Nā Pua Makani wind project to O‘ahu’s electric grid. As noted in our earlier update, testing at the site started in June and will continue over the coming weeks – including a thorough evaluation of each turbine’s safety and operational functions – ahead ofRead more
Frequently Asked Questions
Why are the wind turbines so tall?
Based on public comment, Nā Pua Makani reduced the planned quantity of turbines from 13 to 15 turbines down to a total of 8 turbines, by increasing the height. The higher you get from the ground, the stronger and more steady the winds are. A turbine’s capability to produce power increases significantly with height, as does its efficiency. The height of the turbines are approximately 568 feet from the base to the tip of the rotors. The hub height is approximately 345 feet.
How much will residents hear the turbines while they’re operating?
A full noise study was conducted as part of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIS) to ensure operational sound reaching the Kahuku residential area and neighboring schools will stay at or below the Hawaii Department of Health Sound Level Limit at night. In the Kahuku residential area and neighboring schools, the sound level will not exceed 45 decibels, which is comparable to light traffic in Kahuku. Upon operation, Nā Pua Makani will have a North Shore team leader available to answer questions or comments about operational noise concerns and to ensure appropriate follow-up actions occur.
Are there health concerns associated with wind turbines?
Wind turbines have no adverse effect on human health or environmental health. No studies have identified a direct link between turbines and long-term health impacts such as hypertension, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, tinnitus, headache/migraine, hearing impairment, or other diseases. Shadow flicker and noise from the turbines have not been shown to pose a health risk.
Shadow Flicker: Shadow flicker is a moving shadow created by turbine blades located between the sun and an observer. For shadow flicker to be observed, there must be a direct line of sight between an observer and the incoming shadow flicker. Sunlight and the blades have to be directly facing or facing away from the sun. This means that when shadow flicker effects are observed, it’s typically for a short duration during the low angle sunlight hours, just after sunrise and just before sunset. The farther from the turbine a person is, the less noticeable the shadow flicker would be. Shadow flicker would primarily be contained within the wind farm site and the amount of potential flicker extending into adjacent areas would be relatively short in duration and low in intensity.
Shadow flicker does not have the potential to trigger epileptic seizures as epileptic seizures are precipitated by light flashes in the range from 5 to 30 Hz. The proposed project’s wind turbine blade-pass frequency is approximately 0.59 Hz, or less than 1 alternation per second, so no negative health effects to individuals with photosensitive epilepsy are anticipated. More information is available on the Epilepsy Society website here: https://www.epilepsysociety.org.uk/wind-turbines-and-photosensitive-epilepsy#.XYPRjyhKiUk
Noise: No scientific peer-reviewed study shows a direct link between living close to turbines, and the noise they emit (audible and inaudible), and physiological health effects. Predicted sound levels for Nā Pua Makani are not expected to result in annoyance, sleep disturbance, or other health effects in the general population. Nā Pua Makani is not expected to have disproportionate effects on people with autism or heightened noise sensitivity because the project’s audible noise would be low and, in most cases, imperceptible above the existing ambient noise.
How will AES mitigate impact on our endangered bat population?
Nā Pua Makani’s Habitat Conservation Plan, developed over three years in consultation with the Division of Forestry and Wildlife and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and approved by the Board of Land and Natural Resources in 2018, has three protective components:
1. Prevention — Consistent with nearby wind facilities, Nā Pua Makani’s low wind speed curtailment is the most effective known approach to reducing bat fatalities. In addition, within Nā Pua Makani’s first year of commercial operations and in coordination with wildlife agencies, AES plans to pilot a supplemental bat deterrent system running at other wind facilities with promising results.
2. Monitoring — Onsite operations staff will be trained to recognize any incidents of harm to bats or other species and they will conduct surveys below the turbines to document any such impact. Additionally, Nā Pua Makani will have regular monitoring by trained biologists, the Division of Forestry and Wildlife and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
3. Restoration — To benefit the Hawaiian hoary bat and other protected species, Nā Pua Makani will invest $4.2 million to monitor wildlife impacts on site and to provide materials, personnel and support for habitat restoration at the Poamoho Natural Area Reserve. By preserving habitat outside the wind farm, Nā Pua Makani avoids attracting bats near the turbines. Nā Pua Makani will also support research into the life history and needs of the endangered bat population.