Federal agency issuing environmental review of Hawaii wind power project

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will in the July 12 Federal Register announce the availability of the final environmental impact statement and final habitat conservation plan for Na Pua Makani Power Partners’ 25 MW Na Pua Makani Wind Energy Project.

The applicant is requesting an incidental take permit to authorize take of one threatened and six endangered species listed under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended. If issued, the permit would authorize incidental take of the covered species that may occur as a result of the construction and operation of the project over a 21-year period.

The HCP describes the applicant’s actions and measures to minimize, mitigate, and monitor incidental take of the covered species. The final permit was prepared in response to the permit application in accordance with requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

The applicant proposes to construct and operate the wind project on about 707 acres of public and private lands near the town of Kahuku on the island of Oahu, Hawaii. The western portion of the project would be located on about 255 acres of state of Hawaii lands managed by the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources. The eastern portion of the project would be located on about 452 acres of land owned by Malaekahana Hui West LLC. Additional parcels would be used to access the project, for which the applicant would utilize temporary entry permits, licenses or easements.

The project would have a generating capacity of up to about 25 MW and would supply electricity to Hawaii Electric Co. It would consist of 8 to 10 wind turbine generators, one permanent un-guyed lattice-frame meteorological tower, up to 4.9 miles of new and existing access roads, an operations and maintenance facility, electrical collection and interconnection infrastructure, an electrical substation, and a temporary laydown area. The applicant is considering a variety of WTG models, each ranging from 427 feet to 656 feet in height, and having up to 3.3 MW of generating capacity. The applicant will select the most appropriate wind turbines prior to construction. The selection of the wind turbine models would not change the impacts to the covered species analyzed in the EIS.

The project area is surrounded by agricultural farm lands to the north; residential housing, community infrastructure, and agricultural farm lands to the east; a mixture of agricultural farm lands and undeveloped forest lands to the south; and undeveloped forest lands to the west. The James Campbell National Wildlife Refuge is about 0.75 mile to the north, and the Malaekahana State Recreation Area is 0.1 mile to the east. The operational 30 MW Kahuku wind facility abuts the proposed project area to the northwest.

The service will issue a record of decision and issue or deny the permit no sooner than 30 days after publication of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s notice of availability of the final EIS.

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