UPC Wind Pledges $50 Million Toward the Ho`i I Ka Pono Campaign to Buy Molokai Ranch
UPC Wind, a leading North American wind power company, has pledged $50 million toward Ho'i I Ka Pono, a campaign led by the Moloka'i Community Service Council (MCSC) to purchase all of the lands now owned by Molokai Properties Limited, aka Molokai Ranch. On November 6, Paul Gaynor, President and CEO of UPC Wind, announced the company's commitment to contribute toward the community's effort.
With its predominantly Native Hawaiian population and relatively undeveloped rural environment, Moloka'i is often called the last truly Hawaiian island. Residents have fought for decades to preserve the island's culture and environment. Most of the battles have been against offshore owners whose main motive was to maximize profits on real estate sales. Local ownership of the lands now owned by Molokai Ranch will finally put the island's destiny in the hands of its own people.
"In addition to showing our support for the Ho'i I Ka Pono campaign, our pledge underscores our commitment to the people of Moloka'i and their efforts to determine how their lands will be used in the future," said Gaynor. "Once the community has regained control of the lands owned by Molokai Ranch, we will work directly with community members to lease a portion of the land to build a 21st century wind farm that will generate clean wind energy for Moloka'i and O'ahu."
"The only way to protect Moloka'i's culture, environment and lifestyle is to give the people who live here the power to decide how to manage our limited resources," said Karen M. Holt, Executive Director of the Moloka'i Community Service Council
. "UPC Wind's pledge is a significant step toward helping the Moloka'i community to achieve this goal."
In addition to producing clean energy, a wind farm would provide lease revenue to the Moloka'i community and keep the land rural and accessible for traditional uses such as farming, hunting and cultural practices. Holt says that this revenue "will help to ensure that we can manage these lands for generations to come."
Ho'i I Ka Pono, as the Ranch purchase campaign is called, means to "restore righteousness or balance." This is what the people of Moloka'i hope to do for their island.
Auntie Vanda Hanakahi, a highly respected Moloka'i kupuna [elder] explains that in ancient times, the island of Moloka'i was revered as a sacred place. "Hālau [academies] for the olohe pi'o 'umou [the highest order of kahuna, or learned experts] were based on our island. Today, the kama'āina [people who live here] understand the sacredness of the island. They know that everything is spiritually connected, from the summit of the heavens to the realms of the gods, from the lands of the earth to the depths of the ocean, and from ancestors departed to the people living today (lewa nu'u, wao akua, 'āina, papakū o ke kai, kūpuna and kanaka). We need our island to be in the hands of those who understand this and will honor their kuleana [responsibility] to mālama [care for] the values of our ancestors. Those who live here and love this place will insure that Moloka'i's environmental health and spiritual balance are restored and maintained - Ho'i I Ka Pono. We will leave a rich cultural legacy for the many generations yet unborn."
"UPC Wind takes environmental and cultural issues very seriously. Our record demonstrates our dedication to doing things right," said Noelani Kalipi, Director of Government and Community Relations for UPC Wind. "As the developer, owner and operator of a wind farm, we have an incentive to do it right from the beginning, because we remain accountable to the community for the 20 years or more our projects are running."
In Hawai'i, UPC Wind
built the state's largest wind energy facility, the Maui-based 30 megawatt Kaheawa Wind Power project. The wind farm serves approximately 9 percent of Maui's annual electricity needs with clean, renewable energy - enough to supply nearly 11,000 households. A significant part of the Kaheawa project was the development of the nation's first and only Habitat Conservation Plan for a working wind energy project.
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