Maui, the second largest island within the Hawaiian Island/Emperor Seamount Chain, hosts one of the largest wind farms in the state. All 34 operational wind turbines of the Kaheawa Wind Power I and II facilities are visible in this photograph taken by an astronaut from the International Space Station (ISS). The wind farm lies to the south of a golf course, agricultural fields, and the small town of Waikapu. All stand at the foot of Pu’u Kukui, a large mountain peak in the Mauna Kahalawai (West Maui Mountains) that is dense with vegetation.
Descending a little over half a mile (1 kilometer) down the southeast side of Pu’u Kukui, the turbine field powers 10 to 15 percent of Maui’s yearly electric power usage. After solar power, wind energy is Hawaii’s second-most used renewable energy resource. Aiming to provide renewable energy while protecting local bird and bat species, Kaheawa was the first wind farm in the United States to implement a habitat conservation plan.
Astronaut photograph ISS063-E-40313 was acquired on July 6, 2020, with a Nikon D5 digital camera using a 1600 millimeter lens and is provided by the ISS Crew Earth Observations Facility and the Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, Johnson Space Center. The image was taken by a member of the Expedition 63 crew. The image has been cropped and enhanced to improve contrast, and lens artifacts have been removed. The International Space Station Program supports the laboratory as part of the ISS National Lab to help astronauts take pictures of Earth that will be of the greatest value to scientists and the public, and to make those images freely available on the Internet. Additional images taken by astronauts and cosmonauts can be viewed at the NASA/JSC Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth. Caption by Sara Schmidt, GeoControl Systems, JETS Contract at NASA-JSC.