Big Wind Opponents Suffer Defeat in House

Sophie Cocke/ Civil Beat

Opponents of the Big Wind project failed on Tuesday to derail legislation that would make it easier to build large-scale wind farms on Lanai and Molokai and transmit the electricity to Oahu.

Rep. Cynthia Thielen and Rep. Gil Riviere tried to insert language into Senate Bill 2785 that excluded the two islands from legislation that would facilitate financing for undersea cables between islands.

Last year, similar legislation that focused on the Big Wind project failed to pass amid heated opposition to the proposed wind farms on Lanai and Molokai. This year, the bill’s supporters have tried to distance the measure from the project by stressing that the legislation is not specific to any island or renewable energy project and not a rubber stamp for Big Wind.

“This bill has nothing to do with any renewable energy project,” said Rep. Denny Coffman, chair of the House Energy and Environmental Protection Committee, while defending the bill on Tuesday during a floor vote.

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