HONOLULU — A wind farm Castle & Cooke has proposed building in the Kaa area of Lanai will respect any significant archaeological and cultural sites in the region, the company said.
An archaeological survey will be incorporated into an environmental impact statement being created for the wind farm project, Castle & Cooke Hawaii President Harry Saunders said in a statement.
The environmental study will identify steps needed to preserve the sites and mitigate the impact the wind farm may have. The public will also have an opportunity to review the project and comment on it while the study is being created, he said.
“Preserving and respecting Hawaii’s cultural and archaeological assets is essential to maintaining our unique heritage and sense of place,” he said.
Saunders issued the statement Monday after the Historic Hawaii Foundation named the proposed wind farm site one of this year’s “most endangered historic places.”
Foundation Director Kiersten Faulkner told The Maui News that community members are concerned a 170-turbine wind farm in the Kaa region would disrupt the “cultural landscape” and change the experience of being there.
The foundation is hoping for a resolution that would meet the need for renewable energy while respecting a place that is important to Hawaiian culture and history, she said.
Castle & Cooke Inc., which owns 98 percent of Lanai, has proposed building the wind farm to supply energy to Oahu.
Hawaiian Electric Co. is supporting the project. The utility is pushing to develop alternative energy sources to comply with a 2009 state law requiring the state’s electric utilities to get 40 percent of their power from renewable resources by 2030.
Saunders said the wind farm would have 67 turbines, and would use “our abundant natural resources to address Hawaii’s overdependence on foreign fossil fuel.” The project would also help diversity Lanai’s economy and bring benefits to the island’s community, he said.