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Saturday, December 08, 2018
Auwahi Wind Farm Requests Approval to Kill 140 Hoary Bats
By News Release @ 6:10 PM :: 2683 Views :: Maui County, Energy, Environment

Auwahi Wind Farm Requests Approval to Kill 140 Hoary Bats

From Auwahi Wind Farm Draft Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) Amendment

Submitted Nov 27, 2018

(pg 1-1) …The current amount of authorized take for the Hawaiian hoary bat is 21 bats, an estimate that was based on the best available information at the time the ITP/ITL was issued (see Section 2.0). However, during the first 5 years of Project operation, Hawaiian hoary bat take has been higher than anticipated, and modeled estimations of take indicate that the Project has exceeded the currently authorized take limit, even with the implementation of additional, voluntary avoidance and minimization measures. In 2015, Auwahi Wind initiated consultation with USFWS and DOFAW with the goal of preparing and receiving approval of an HCP Amendment (see Section 2.0) before the Project approached the currently authorized take limit. While not required under the approved HCP, Auwahi Wind concurrently initiated voluntary low wind speed curtailment (LWSC) with a 5.0 meter per second (m/s) cut-in speed, year round, at the Project in 2015 to reduce the risk to bats. The requested total bat take authorization for this amendment is 140 bats (119 in addition to the 21 authorized in the approved HCP). The amendment separates the requested take into three cumulative tiers of take (Tiers 4, 5, and 6) of 81, 115, and 140 bats, respectively….

(pg 5-7) In addition to the Hawaiian hoary bat take authorized under the approved HCP, the only other authorized take of the Hawaiian hoary bat on Maui is from two other industrial-scale wind farms operating with approved HCPs. The Kaheawa Wind Phase I Project (20 GE 1.5-MW wind turbines) and Kaheawa Wind Phase II Project (14 GE 1.5-MW wind turbines) are located on west Maui and have authorized take levels of 50 bats and 11 bats over 20-year permit terms, respectively (KWP LLC 2006, SWCA 2011). Due to higher than anticipated incidental take levels of bats, Kaheawa Wind Phase II is in the process of amending its HCP (ESRC 2015) and has requested additional take of 27 bats. The take for all existing Maui projects is estimated at 11.4 bats per year. Based on the population estimate provided above for Maui, the cumulative impact of all current Maui wind projects is not expected to have a significant impact on the population of Hawaiian hoary bats on the island. …

(pg 5-8) The activities that directly impact bats on Maui (identified above), also occur statewide. The direct impacts from other authorized or proposed actions which could take bats include the following:

1) authorized take approved for two existing wind projects on O’ahu (Kawailoa is seeking an amendment to increase the amount of authorized Hawaiian hoary bat take),

2) requested take for one proposed wind project on O’ahu, and

3) requested take for two existing wind projects and one restoration project on Hawai’i Island (Table 5-3)

….

8.0 ALTERNATIVES

8.1 FULL NIGHTTIME SHUTDOWN

This alternative would consist of ceasing nighttime operations by feathering turbine blades year-round from one hour before sunset to one hour after sunrise at all Project turbines to avoid additional Hawaiian hoary bat take….  This alternative was not selected for consideration because ceasing operations at night year-round would trigger a clause in the PPA that would modify Auwahi Wind’s priority for providing power to Maui Electric Company (MECO). This action is irreversible and will result in the Project being heavily curtailed for the remainder of the PPA term, to the point where the Project could no longer operate due to the financial impact.

(Genius Idea: Make MECO renegotiate the PPA to eliminate Auwahi’s excuse.)

read … Auwahi Wind Farm Draft Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) Amendment

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From The Environmental Notice, Dec 8, 2018

Auwahi Wind Farm operates under an approved Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) and Incidental Take License (ITL) issued by the Department of Land and Natural Resources. The HCP and ITL provide coverage for incidental take of four listed wildlife species, including the endangered Hawaiian Hoary Bat (Lasiurus cinereus semotus). Post construction mortality monitoring data indicate that the wind turbines are causing a greater number of Hawaiian Hoary Bat fatalities than anticipated in the approved HCP and authorized under the ITL. Accordingly, Auwahi Wind Energy, LLC is seeking approval of a major amendment to the HCP as part of the request to increase the amount of incidental Hawaiian Hoary Bat take authorized under the ITL.

The public may send comments to the Approving Agency Contact with copies to the applicant and consultant. Comments must be received by February 21, 2019. The Division of Forestry and Wildlife will also hold a public hearing on Maui to receive comments. The date and location of the public hearing will be made available via legal notice.

Approving Agency Contact: Department of Land and Natural Resources; 1151 Punchbowl Street, Room 325, Honolulu, HI 96813 Attn: Glenn Metzler, (808) 587-4149, glenn.m.metzler@hawaii.gov.  

  *   *   *   *   *

Propaganda: Kawailoa-wind-will-protect-hoary-bats 

MN: Draft report calls for higher wind farm hoary bat allowance

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