Renewable Energy Development
The State of Hawai‘i has established ambitious renewable energy goals with the passing of HB623, a bill requiring 100 percent of the state’s electricity to come from renewable sources by 2045. Guam, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands are also moving forward with strong energy initiatives in attempt to reduce high electrical costs.
While energy development is necessary to meet the needs of the public, it can also have localized negative impacts on our federally listed species and designated critical habitat, as well as other trust resources under our jurisdiction. Over the past several years, we have worked with State partners and other stakeholders to develop conservation strategies and best management practices for energy development in the Pacific Islands. Our biologists can provide technical assistance regarding how to avoid and minimize impacts to wildlife and their habitats through appropriate project siting, design, construction and operation. We recommend early consultation by project proponents and agencies.
Relevant Authorities and Policy
Visit our Section 7 Consultation and Section 10 Habitat Conservation Planning page for more information.
How Much Time Will the Service's Review Take to Complete?
Depending on a proposed project's location, scope and impact to species, our permitting process will take between 135 days for formal Section 7 consultations and up to to 2-3 years for permitting under section 10 of the ESA.
Natural Resource Concerns
All of our federally listed species (over 500) have the potential to experience impacts from renewable energy projects in the Pacific Islands. Infrastructure associated with energy development also has the potential to harm critical or sensitive habitat such as tropical dryland and moist forests, tropical grass and shrublands, wetlands, streams and marine ecosystems.
The Service seeks to ensure that the cumulative effects of the rapidly growing utility-scale wind development in the islands does not contribute to the decline of bird or bat populations. Unfortunately, due to the widespread nature of our listed species and land-use restrictions, siting recommendations applicable for the mainland often cannot be applied in the islands. Fatalities due to turbine collision have been reported at operating wind facilities in Hawai'i for the federally listed Hawaiian hoary bat, Hawaiian goose, and Hawaiian petrel, as well as several other Migratory Bird species. The Service is especially concerned with the potential impacts of wind development on the island of Kaua'i where 90% percent of the Newell's shearwater population nest. This species has experienced a 75% decline over the past two decades.