Maui wind turbines

90% of electrical production for Hawaii comes from imported petroleum. In other words, the oil comes in by boat. Yikes. Not real sustainable, is it? However the state is acting fast to create renewable energy.

Just this year, new wind turbines on the West Maui Mountains now provide Maui with 10% of its energy, with plans in progress to increase that to 20%.

Hopefully they’ll make it even more than that. Power can also be generated from the movement of tides, and there’s plenty of ocean around Maui too!

I can see the turbines in the distance out the window. They aren’t overly obtrusive and are well away from homes, etc. They are deliberately painted white to keep birds from flying into them, rather than a camouflage color that would fade into the background. Wind turbines are huge and noisy, so it’s best to keep them away from people, but then most people wouldn’t want to live where’s there’s steady powerful winds anyway.

Why bring in oil by boat to generate electricity when you can generate your own without oil.


  1. I’m a big fan of wind power and noticed the Maui wind farm on my recent
    trip to South Maui (Kihei). The turbines are kind of pretty (like the
    pinwheels children spin by blowing on) and don’t mar the landscape. I found
    myself looking up to see how they were rotating from different vantages on
    the Kihei, Wailea, and Makena beaches. They seemed to disappear when low
    clouds came in, only to slowly reappear as cloud cover lifted. What a
    wonderful way to generate energy. Mr. Sumner of Ulapalakua Ranch is to be
    congratulated for his vision!

  2. I just wanted to clarify Rebecca Morris’s comment. Mr. Sumner is not responsible for the wind farm above McGregor Point on the West Maui Mountains. It is owned and operated by UPC Hawaii Wind Partners and called the Kaheawa Wind farm. It is rated at 30MW and supplies around 9% of our needs. The only confusion she might have had was mixing the projects up. The second wind farm is in the works and it is being planned by Mr. Sumner Erdman, president of Ulupalakua Ranch, and John Hofmeister president of Shell Oil. That planned project is called the Auwahi Wind Farm, located across the valley opposite of the current West Maui’s Kaheawa Wind farm up the slopes around 4,000+ foot level of Haleakala, the largest dormant volcano in the world. It is expected to generate 40MW. Myself being a long time resident of Maui welcome any renewable energy projects. As stated before, we are dependent on imported oil to the tune of 85+% here in Hawaii which is ridiculous. Most folks in the US don’t know that we have the most expensive electricity in the nation. As of late we pay between 29.5¢ to 31.5¢ a kilowatt hour. Gas is over $4.00 a gallon and has always been the most expensive in the US. I still scratch my head as many here also as to why that is. It is substantially cheaper on Oahu. Some may say both of our refineries are on Oahu so that’s why it’s cheaper there. Well if that were true then why is it cheaper on the Big Island which is farther than Maui? I believe we as customers of Maui Electric Co. (MECO) who buy the power from the wind farms should have some say in this whole process. I believe the customers and residents of Maui should float a bond or whatever it is that they do, so that we the people of Maui can outright own the wind farms after we pay for them. Co-Operative power. Otherwise we will be prisoners to the electric company for the rest of our lives. I also find it interesting years ago the big oil companies bought up the rights to many solar PhotoVoltaic (PV) companies. They saw the writing on the wall and knew one day the oil would be gone and so would they. But instead when PV first came out they were very expensive and the guys with all the money were the oil companies. They figured that when the oil ran out, they’d still run the game, and we would keep them fat by still having to deal with them. I still have an old solar panel that was manufactured by Arco. If we don’t take the bull by the horns and demand that we as the people can own the wind farms co-operatively, otherwise if it’s Shell Oil we pay every month to run the diesel powered plant here in Maui, it’ll still be Shell Oil we pay every month for wind power instead of diesel. Sometimes I wish people would pull their heads out of the sand and do something for their childrens great grandchildren, and their children’s future. We need to think as my ancestors did, the great Sioux nation. Native Americans never made any decision or action without first thinking how their actions today will effect 7 generations from now. I pray here in Hawaii we can be a model for the rest of the world in sustainability. We are the most isolated land mass on the planet with one of the most fragile ecosystems. I wish we could completely supply all of our energy 100% through renewable resources. We have abundant sunshine, wind & waves. In fact a new wave power plant is to be tested very soon here in Maui on the North Shore not very far from the famed surfing spot known as Jaws . Yet we lag behind many other places in the world who take these issues very seriously. It’s almost like too little, too late. The U-turn is starting to happen, let’s hope we get serious about these issues before it is too late, I hope they put up 3 or 4 more wind farms soon and the residents own them. We could be the model for the world in sustainability, not just a tourist location, but a very desirable tourist location. Our beauty is in the Aina, we need to be good stewards, otherwise the beauty will be gone with the tourists.

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