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Big Island wind farm allowed to ‘take’ 3 endangered species

KAILUA-KONA — Pakini Nui Wind Farm operator Tawhiri Power LLC’s request for incidental take of three endangered species has been approved by state and federal officials.

In exchange, the Ka‘u wind-energy facility operator will implement a habitat-conservation plan that includes a variety of measures to reduce the likelihood of take as well as an off-site mitigation effort benefiting the Hawaiian hoary bat (ope‘ape‘a), Hawaiian goose (nene) and Hawaiian petrel (ua‘u).

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently announced the publication of a Record of Decision to issue the incidental take permit to the South Point wind-farm operator. The permit allows for the incidental take of an estimated 26 hoary bats, three petrels and three nene over 10 years.

Pakini Nui was one of four wind-energy projects that applied for the federal permit. The others were Kaheawa Wind Power II and Auwahi Wind projects on Maui, and Kawailoa Wind Power project on Oahu.

The 10-year permit issued to Tawhiri Power LLC covers the remaining operation life of the project, which is less than eight years, as well as the decommissioning stage. Pakini Nui has been in operation since April 2007, producing 20.5MW via 14 turbine generators, and has recorded only three fatalities involving hoary bats, the first in 2013.
Source: The Garden Island

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