The Kahuku Wind farm will support the ambitious Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative, which aims to have 70 percent of the state’s energy for electricity and ground transportation come from clean energy by 2030. The work on the Kahuku Wind project will create employment opportunities during design, engineering and construction including approximately 200 construction jobs.
The project is in final permitting stages. Construction will begin after the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission approves the project and the DOE guaranteed funding is in place.
“This is a positive step toward a major addition to Oahu’s portfolio of renewable energy sources,” said Robbie Alm, executive vice president of the Hawaiian Electric Company. “First Wind brings demonstrated wind farm experience to this project and we welcome the opportunity to work with them to help meet our state’s critical clean energy goals.”
First Wind intends to incorporate innovative technology in its Kahuku Wind project: a 15 MVA, 10 MW/hour battery energy storage system to enhance electricity load stability. Developed by Xtreme Power, of Kyle, Texas, the patented battery system will enable the Kahuku Wind project to store energy and provide as much as 10 MW of power for at least an hour during periods of low wind speeds. The Kahuku Wind project will also include twelve 2.5 MW Clipper Liberty™ wind turbines. Manufactured in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, the Liberty turbines are the largest wind turbines manufactured in North America.
“We are very pleased to receive notification of this conditional commitment offer and we applaud the DOE and its Loan Programs Office for its leadership in advancing innovative renewable energy projects such as Kahuku Wind,” said Paul Gaynor, CEO of First Wind.
The DOE’s Loan Programs Office manages the nation’s green energy loan portfolio and is authorized to issue loan guarantees under Title XVII of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 for eligible projects that (a) avoid, reduce, or sequester air pollutants or anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases and (b) employ new or significantly improved technologies as compared to technologies in service in the United States at the time the guarantee is issued. For more information on the DOE’s Loan Programs Office, please visit www.lgprogram.energy.gov.
“Given today’s difficult financing environment for these types of projects, the loan guarantee will be an important part in securing the necessary financing to build this next-generation wind energy project, which will create jobs, generate clean power for the people of Oahu, and help Hawaii gain greater energy independence. In addition, we believe Kahuku Wind will demonstrate the tremendous potential for battery storage solutions to maximize the efficiency of utility-scale wind projects by smoothing output and providing some energy at off-peak times,” Mr. Gaynor added.
First Wind successfully built and currently operates Hawaii’s largest wind energy facility, the 30 MW Kaheawa Wind project in Maui. Kaheawa Wind serves nearly 9 percent of Maui’s annual electricity needs with clean, renewable energy – enough to supply nearly 11,000 households annually. As part of the Kaheawa project, First Wind also implemented what it believes is the nation’s first Habitat Conservation Plan for a working wind energy project.
The Kahuku project will also feature a Habitat Conservation Plan so that endangered species can be protected near the project.
First Wind is an independent wind energy company exclusively focused on the development, financing, construction, ownership and operation of utility-scale wind projects in the United States. Based in Boston, First Wind has wind projects in the Northeast, the West and in Hawaii, with a combined capacity to generate up to 478 megawatts of power.
First Wind has a partnership in Hawaii with Makani Nui Associates, a Hawai‘i-based company. The partnership developed, constructed, financed, owns and operates Kaheawa Wind Power I. Makani Nui is also a partner in the Kahuku Wind project.