The contract is being paid for by American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds totaling $2.9 million dollars.
In 2008, the Lingle-Aiona Administration took the bold step to commit Hawai`i’s resources to become less reliant on fossil fuels and move Hawai`i towards utilizing more clean energy sources. At that time, the State and the U.S. Department of Energy signed an unprecedented agreement to establish the Hawai`i Clean Energy Initiative, which establishes a 70 percent clean energy goal by 2030.
"By providing a statewide electrical grid and a way to move renewable energy from where it is abundantly available to where it is needed, the interisland cable will help our state achieve a clean energy future," said Ted Peck, Administrator, Hawai`i State Energy Office. "The cable and the Interisland Wind power projects, will help improve our energy security by reducing Hawai`i’s dependence on the volatile global petroleum market."
Working with AECOM are two key subcontractors: Ku`iwalu and R.M Towill Corporation, as well as numerous specialty service subcontractors who bring specific local knowledge and expertise or highly specialized technical expertise to the project.
As part of the EIS, the consultant team will examine impacts on cultural resources; historic and archeological resources; socioeconomic impacts; coastal aquatic ecology; endangered, threatened and protected species; coral reef ecology; whales and marine mammals; wildlife and fisheries biology; water quality; ecological and human health; offshore habitats; essential fish habitats; visual impacts; preferred routing alternatives; and other issues. The EIS work will also include rigorous public involvement on the affected islands through a comprehensive public outreach and participation process.
"The State is very excited to begin work on the EIS for the undersea interisland cable," said Lt. Governor James R. "Duke" Aiona, Jr. "We encourage all of our residents to be a part of the public involvement process, which will help shape a clean energy future for our state."
The undersea interisland cable is one component of the Interisland Wind Initiative, which includes the development of wind farm in Maui County, the development of the undersea cable, and the utility infrastructure upgrades that would allow the integration of a renewable energy electrical grid.
The Interisland Wind Initiative is part of a comprehensive energy agreement signed one year ago between the State of Hawai‘i and Hawaiian Electric companies to move the state away from its dependence on fossil fuels for electricity and ground transportation. Partners in the agreement include the DBEDT, the Hawaiian Electric companies, the State Consumer Advocate and the U.S. Department of Energy.
Leading the Way to Energy Independence for Hawai‘i
The Hawai‘i Clean Energy Initiative aims to transform Hawai‘i into a world model for energy independence and sustainability. Our goal is to meet 70% of Hawai‘i’s energy needs with clean energy by 2030.
Hawai‘i is rich in renewable energy sources that have the potential to free us from our dependence on imported oil, which today supplies 90% of our energy. We are the most oil-dependent state in the nation—four times more dependent than any other state. And our demand for energy is increasing rapidly.
Importing oil to meet this demand is not sustainable. We must transform the way we meet our energy needs by converting to the clean, renewable sources our islands provide in abundance.
Convert: Harness What We Have Wisely
To achieve the goal of 70% clean energy by 2030, the Hawai‘i Clean Energy Initiative is working to develop Hawai‘i’s indigenous, sustainable sources of energy. Our plentiful sunshine, strong trade winds, surrounding ocean, geothermal activity, temperate climate, and year-round growing season can all be tapped to provide sustainable sources of energy that are essential to a clean energy future for Hawai‘i.
Wind Energy in Hawai‘i
Wind power is plentiful on Hawai‘i’s islands. In the past, ancient Hawai‘ians depended on the trade winds to sail their canoes. And for the people of Hawai‘i today, the wind holds tremendous potential as a clean, renewable energy source.
Wind turbines can be used as stand-alone applications, or they can be connected to a utility power grid or even combined with a photovoltaic (solar cell) system. For utility-scale (megawatt-sized) sources of wind energy, a large number of wind turbines are usually built close together to form a wind plant. A growing number of utility providers use wind plants to supply power to their customers.
In Hawai‘i, wind farms are already supplying electricity to consumers on Maui and the Big Island, and plans are under way to install wind turbines on Lana‘i, Moloka‘i, and O‘ahu.
Stand-alone wind turbines are typically used for water pumping or communications. However, homeowners, farmers, and ranchers in windy areas can also use wind turbines as a way to reduce their electric bills.
Small wind systems also have potential as distributed energy resources. Distributed energy resources refer to a variety of small modular, power-generating technologies that can be combined to improve the operation of the electricity-delivery system.
The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Wind Program and NREL have published a wind resource map for the state of Hawai‘i. The map shows wind speed estimates at 50 meters above the ground and depicts the resource that could be used for utility-scale wind development. Future plans are to provide wind speed estimates at 30 meters, which are useful for identifying small wind turbine opportunities.
As a renewable resource, wind is classified according to wind power classes, which are based on typical wind speeds. These classes range from Class 1 (the lowest) to Class 7 (the highest). In general, at 50 meters, Class 4 or higher can be useful for generating wind power with large turbines. Class 4 and above are considered good resources. Particular locations in the Class 3 areas could have higher wind power class values at 80 meters than shown on the 50-meter map because of possible high wind shear. Given the advances in technology, a number of locations in the Class 3 areas may be suitable for utility-scale wind development.
This map indicates that Hawai‘i has wind resources consistent with utility-scale production. Good-to-excellent wind resource areas are fairly evenly distributed throughout the islands. The largest contiguous areas are located on the western parts of Moloka‘i and Lana‘i, on the western and southern shores of Maui and Kahoolawe, and on the northern and southern tips of Hawai‘i. There are also localized high-wind resource areas on the islands of Kaua‘i and O‘ahu.