U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu announced that the Department of Energy has offered a conditional commitment on a $117 million loan guarantee to finance the construction and start-up of an innovative 30 megawatt (MW) wind energy project in Kahuku, Hawaii.
Kahuku Wind Power, LLC will install twelve 2.5 MW wind turbines along with a battery energy storage system for electricity load stability. The loan guarantee is being supported by funds made available from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
This investment will create jobs and cut our dependence on oil, while promoting Americas leadership in the global race for the clean energy industries of tomorrow, said Secretary Chu.
Located on the island of Oahu, the Kahuku wind farm will contribute to Hawaiis Clean Energy Initiative goal of meeting 70 percent of the states energy needs with clean energy by 2030. Currently, each island uses an isolated electric grid that relies upon the use of imported oil, which currently comprises 90 percent of the states energy supply.
By harnessing wind power, the project is expected to supply electricity to 7,700 households and avoid the production of nearly 160 million pounds of carbon dioxide, a major greenhouse gas.
The project sponsor, First Wind Holdings LLC, estimates that construction of the Kahuku project will create 200 jobs. After completion, the project will provide 6 to 10 full-time clean energy jobs in Kahuku. The electricity generated by the project will be sold to Hawaiian Electric Company, Inc.
This is the eighth conditional commitment for a loan guarantee for clean energy projects entered into by the Departments Loan Guarantee Program Office. It represents another step toward making the United States a worldwide leader in the manufacture and deployment of clean energy technology. For more information, please visit the Loan
The wind farm is being built on 506 acres in the hills above Kahuku. It’s one of two projects in the works in the area to bring clean energy to the islands.
First Wind plans to install 12 wind turbines, capable of supplying enough electricity for 7,700 homes a year. It will be similar to other wind farms, like on Maui. But First Wind’s project is just one of two wind farm plants proposed for this rural area of Oahu. There will be 22, 420-foot towers once the two projects are completed.
"We understand we can make a contribution to the rest of the island. We want to do our part but we also want the developers to be respectful of our community," said Kent Fonoimoana, Kahuku Community Association board member.
"It’s a proven area for wind energy. First Wind would like to move forward and utilize what has already been found in Kahuku," said Kekoa Kaluhiwa, First Wind External Affairs Director
Fonoimoana says most of his neighbors are comfortable with First Wind’s project because it’s set about three quarters of a mile away from homes. It’s Oahu Wind Partners’ plans to construct four towers above homes that have them concerned.