Graduation Date

Fall 2022

Document Type



Master of Science degree with a major in Environmental Systems, option Energy, Technology, and Policy

Committee Chair Name

Arne Jacobson

Committee Chair Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Second Committee Member Name

Tani Sebro

Second Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Third Committee Member Name

Peter Alstone

Third Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Subject Categories

Environmental Systems


In 2015, Hawaiʻi set the most ambitious renewable energy portfolio goal in the nation by vowing to reach 100% renewable energy by 2045. Since then, many renewable energy development projects in Hawaiʻi have been met with strong community opposition, including the Nā Pua Makani wind farm (NPM) in Kahuku. The aim of this project is to analyze the process timeline of NPM to identify factors in the development process that contributed to organized protest, and to offer recommendations for improving the process. In order to get a full picture of the events throughout the Nā Pua Makani project’s timeline, my research involved analysis of documents from the Public Utilities Commission and interviews with the stakeholders including residents of the impacted communities, legal representatives, and representatives from the final developer. Throughout my research, I found that poor community engagement was a key component of the conflict surrounding NPM. Subsequently, I use a development framework outlined in the United Nations’ Free, Prior, and Informed Consent (FPIC) Manual to identify how NPM fell short in their community engagement process, and recommend that the Hawaiian Electric Company include language within their request for proposals requiring a signed consent agreement between the developer and host community. Additionally, I review how NPM has changed the renewable development landscape in Hawaiʻi to date, and explore development options alternative to utility-scale projects that may have less impact on environmental justice communities.

Citation Style


IRB approval.pdf (176 kB)
IRB approval memo


Thesis/Project Location