AES Hawaiʻi and its environmental consultant conducted a preliminary assessment of the environmental conditions at the site based on a review of publicly available maps, studies, and previous environmental reports prepared for the property. More detailed information is being obtained through due diligence and site-specific studies, as well community feedback, and will be used to inform the design process.
The Project design will seek to avoid and minimize environmental impacts to the extent possible. Best Management Practices (BMPs) will be implemented to further minimize impacts throughout the Project lifecycle.
Feedback will be collected throughout the Project lifecycle, and updates will be provided as outlined in the Community Outreach section above. To get the latest project information sign up for our newsletter.
None of the equipment associated with the solar
arrays or battery storage system emit air pollutants of any kind. Overall, the Project would provide a net benefit by replacing energy generated by burning fossil fuels with renewable energy, thereby reducing emissions of greenhouse gases.
Natural Habitats and Ecosystems, Vegetation, and Wildlife
A biological survey was conducted to characterize the existing plant and animal habitat and determine whether species that are federally or state listed as threatened or endangered (pursuant to the federal Endangered Species Act or Hawaiʻi Revised Statutes [HRS] 195D), or are otherwise considered rare, have the potential to occur and could be impacted by construction or operation of the Project.
The results of the survey indicate that the Project area has been extensively modified by previous agricultural operations and is dominated by non-native species. Vegetation types in the Project area include kiawe/buffelgrass forest, koa haole scrub, non-native grassland, ruderal vegetation and cultivated fields. No federally or state listed plant or animal species were documented within the Project area, although several could possibly occur within or traverse over the Project area.
The Project is being designed to minimize ground disturbance and maintain ample, natural open space surrounding the Project facilities. Impacts to natural resources, including listed species that could possibly occur within or traverse over the Project area, would be avoided and minimized to the extent possible through implementation of standard measures.
The Project would generate clean renewable energy which would replace the burning of fossil fuel for the production of electricity, thus offsetting greenhouse gas emissions and providing a beneficial impact on climate conditions. Hawaiian Electric has determined that the Project would displace approximately 872,886 barrels of fuel, and would decrease greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 379,040 metric tons over its lifetime.
Flood and tsunami hazards
The project is not within the FEMA 100-year flood plain or the tsunami evacuation zone.
Once operational, the Project is anticipated to generate minimal noise.
Roadways and Traffic
Early-stage community feedback indicated a desire to minimize damage to roads and impact to local traffic. For that reason, a traffic impact analysis report (TIAR) was conducted to evaluate the traffic impacts resulting from the proposed AES Mountain View Solar Project. It is AESʻ goal to minimize traffic impacts to the surrounding community. The analysis concluded that the Project during construction and through operation will have no significant impact on the surrounding facilities.
During construction, it has been suggested by the traffic engineer that AES utilize the access route Farrington Highway to Plantation Road for ingress and egress of construction vehicles, including WB-67 designed vehicles. Construction workers may utilize this route as well as the Farrington Highway to Waianae Valley Road route to get to and from the Project Site. It is AES’ intent to maintain roads and repair any damage that may be caused as a result of construction activities. Any mitigation identified in the TIAR will be implemented during construction of the Project.
A visual impact analysis which identifies a zone of visual influence has been conducted, and visual simulations are being developed to assist with refinement of the location of Project components in order to minimize the impact to neighboring residents and on the rural character of the area to the extent practicable. As AES progresses with the Project’s design & engineering efforts, visual simulations will be updated to reflect refinements to the Project design.
The facility is not anticipated to generate solid waste. The Project will be decommissioned at the end of its lifecycle and the Project area will be returned to its existing condition (or comparable). A decommissioning plan will be developed to ensure Project components are recycled in accordance with standards and regulations applicable at the time of decommissioning.
A delineation was conducted within the Project area to identify any water features, such as wetlands or streams, that may be considered Waters of the U.S. and therefore subject to regulation by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act.
Fieldwork for wetland delineation was completed in February 2021, and the delineation report will be compiled and submitted to the USACE for their jurisdictional determination. The Project will be designed to avoid any jurisdictional Waters of the U.S. to the extent possible.
Topography and Geotechnical
Topographic and geotechnical surveys have been conducted to inform Project design as well as to minimize site disturbance and the overall Project footprint through the optimization of the placement of Project components.
Storm water Runoff and Water Quality
The Project is not anticipated to have an impact on water quality. The Project is being designed to avoid onsite water features and Best Management Practices (BMPs) will be implemented to minimize runoff or other potential water quality impacts.
As noted above, the topographic and geotechnical survey is being used to inform the civil and storm water management design. As the Project would incorporate low impact design techniques and would involve a relatively minimal increase in impervious surfaces (with subsequent removal as part of Project decommissioning), it is not expected to substantially affect storm water discharge. All storm water will be contained within the Project area. In addition, BMPs will be implemented to minimize the potential for sedimentation and erosion, such that the Project is not anticipated to have an impact on water quality.
Land Use Agreements and Title
The Project will be developed within the area identified in the land agreement with the landowner, utilizing the least amount of land reasonably possible.
Supporting compatible agricultural activities
AES is working closely with the landowner, who operates an active farming business adjacent to the Project area, to utilize the least-productive agricultural areas in order to generate additional income for the landowner to support his ongoing farming operations. Additionally, AES has engaged an agricultural consultant and intends to work with agricultural specialists, the landowner and community members who are interested in engaging in agricultural activities to identify potential compatible agricultural partnerships.
AES will restore the land to its existing condition (or comparable) at the end of the project's lifespan. Decommissioning report here