WAIMEA HYDROELECTRIC PROJECT – FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Posted on May 16, 2017 in Community News, Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, Hawaiian Homes Commission, Planning Office, Public Information, Public Notice, Slider

WAIMEA HYDROELECTRIC PROJECT
Frequently Asked Questions & Answers

How much land is contemplated for this hydroelectric project?
The land that has been advertised for the hydroelectric project is about 14,559 acres because that land is held as a single parcel. However, only a very small portion of that total will be used for the project. 

Why is the department “disposing” of its Waimea lands for a hydroelectric project instead of awarding homesteads to people on the waiting list?
“Disposing” does not mean that the land is being given away.  It means that a lease may be awarded for a hydroelectric project if the Hawaiian Homes Commission determines it will benefit beneficiaries.

The DHHL Waimea lands, is largely dry, remote, and steep.  Less than one third of the parcel was once used for sugar cultivation and could be used for homestead leasing – if water and access can be provided. Most of the land is primarily unimproved with dirt roads and trails, many of which are difficult to use. 

Allowing the development of a hydroelectric project on a very small portion of the lands is a way to have another party develop road, electrical, and water infrastructure so that the land can be used by home land beneficiaries, including in homesteads.

How will a hydroelectric project benefit DHHL and its beneficiaries?
DHHL contemplates that the hydroelectric project will reliably and efficiently deliver water to its lands for the use of current pastoral lessees and for future homesteading as well as shift costs of rehabilitating, maintaining and improving key infrastructure from DHHL to the energy developer.  The project may also generate revenue for future homestead development. 

Why are we just hearing about this – is this a “backroom deal?”
The Department’s interest in leasing a portion of its Waimea lands for the development of hydroelectric project is based upon consultation with beneficiaries.  The DHHL beneficiaries on Kaua’i themselves identified alternate energy development that is compatible with agriculture as a priority for these lands.  

The DHHL developed the West Kaua`i Regional Plan following an extensive regional planning process with its Waimea, Kekaha, and Hanapēpē beneficiaries.  Throughout the plan process, beneficiaries expressed their desire to utilize lands for agricultural homestead purposes. 

This plan, publicly approved by the Hawaiian Homes Commission in 2011, identified several priority projects for the West Kaua`i Region, including the development of an agricultural and water plan and the development of renewable energy projects compatible with agriculture.  The West Kaua`i Regional Plan can be accessed online at:

http://dhhl.hawaii.gov/po/regional-plans/kauai-regional-plans/

Who will be reviewing these applications?
Those reviewing submitted applications include DHHL staff, its agents and consultants.

 Why was this advertised in papers on Hawai`i Island?
This was advertised in newspapers on every island, in accordance with state law and DHHL policies.

Click HERE for a PDF (downloadable) version of the FAQ’s.