What does it mean to the three thousand residents of the island? Well, that's to be seen. Supposedly, Mr. Ellison is an environmentalist (or at least has "green leanings") so hopefully that will mean no ten-story condo projects or nuclear waste dumps in the near future. But owning a island pretty much means you get to run the show. Will Ellison bring jobs and prosperity? We'll see.
The last owner of the island, Mr. David Murdock, ran afoul of local sentiment by proposing a large (like hundreds of turbines) wind farm for the NE corner of the island. There were many concerns, but one of the big ones was that the energy generated would all be sent, via undersea cable, to Honolulu. The residents of Lana'i pay some of the highest energy costs in the country. Don't you think a small fraction of the power could have been diverted to run local homes and businesses? Or, if it was too expensive to divert the energy, couldn't a small fraction of the profits from the sale of the energy be used to offset the cost of energy of the local people? Seems like a no-brainer to me to garner favor for an unwelcome project by giving an incentive to have the project move forward.
Regardless of Mr. Ellison's purchase, I was amused to see a note in a news release that stated that Mr. Murdock retained the right to put his wind farm on the island at a future time if he so desired. Some folks just have to have the last word...eh?
My new book, "Lana'i of the Tiger" will be out late summer 2012. Hopefully, it will make you want to make a short trip to the island to see just what half-a-billion dollars buys these days.