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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, June 20, 2003

Wind energy worth a fresh look here

Mechanical, financial and even — believe it or not — environmental problems brought a halt to Hawai'i's last major experiment with generating power by harnessing the wind.

But there are growing signs that it may be time to take a fresh look at this alternative source of energy. One key signal, as noted recently by the Providence (Rhode Island) Journal, is a decision by General Electric to enter the wind energy business.

That's significant, because $130 billion-a-year General Electric is not about to get into this business for romantic or experimental reasons. It sees an opportunity.

Wind energy has its drawbacks, ranging from the fact that backup systems must exist for days when there is no wind, to objections from some who contend the windmills are visually polluting. There are concerns about the danger these structures pose to birds.

But this technology should not simply be written off; it could be part of an overall energy "package" in Hawai'i that harvests energy from the sun, the ocean and the wind as a way to reduce our dependence on fossil fuel.