30 megawatt project that features innovative battery system.
Governor Abercrombie, State and Community leaders attend ceremony to celebrate 30 megawatt project that features innovative battery system and is capable of supplying enough renewable energy to power up to 7,700 Oahu homes annually.
First Wind, an independent U.S.-based wind energy company, and Hawaiian Electric Company held a ribbon-cutting ceremony today to mark the commencement of commercial operations of the Kahuku Wind project. State, local and community leaders gathered at the project site on Oahu’s North Shore to recognize the environmental and economic benefits of the 30 MW project, which features an innovative battery storage system and has the capacity to generate enough renewable energy to power up to 7,700 Oahu homes each year.
Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie led the celebration, as he, officials from First Wind, community leaders and others conducted a traditional untying of a Hawaiian maile lei at the entrance of the wind project’s operations building.
“Renewable energy projects such as Kahuku Wind are significant as they advance Hawaii’s pursuit of energy independence,” said Governor Abercrombie. “By harnessing resources such as the wind to provide renewable and sustainable power to Oahu’s grid, we are building a clean energy infrastructure that will provide both immediate and long-term environmental and economic benefits to the people of Hawaii.”
Construction of the Kahuku Wind project was assisted by a $117 million loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The loan guarantee, which was granted in part because of the innovative battery technology used at the site, enabled First Wind to secure the necessary financing that in turn helped complete construction of the project.
As Energy Secretary Steven Chu said when DOE’s Loan Programs Office finalized the $117 million loan guarantee, “This project is another example of America’s leadership in the global clean energy economy. Through the Recovery Act, we are supporting innovative projects that are adding to our workforce in the short term while laying the foundation for additional job creation in the long term.”
“We are thrilled that Kahuku Wind is now operating and providing a new source of clean, renewable wind energy to Oahu,” said Paul Gaynor, CEO of First Wind. “We’re proud to help Hawaii meet its clean energy goals. The Kahuku wind project is one of the newest and most technologically advanced wind facilities in the nation and it will be a model for future Hawaii projects. The project was made possible through our partnerships with Hawaiian Electric Company, the U.S. Department of Energy, Xtreme Power Inc. and RMT, Inc. along with tremendous support from the state and local leaders and members of the local community.”
As part of a long-term Power Purchase Agreement between Kahuku Wind and Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO), First Wind will sell as-available renewable energy from the project to the utility at contracted prices.
“Kahuku Wind is a welcome addition to Oahu’s growing portfolio of renewable energy resources,” said Dick Rosenblum, HECO’s President and CEO. “We applaud First Wind and its partners for working with the Kahuku community to complete this project and bring us closer to meeting our state’s goals of 70 percent clean energy by 2030.”
The project features several innovations including new 2.5 MW Clipper Liberty wind turbines and a battery energy storage system developed by Xtreme Power. Its Dynamic Power Resource (DPR) is a utility-scale battery system that assists in meeting stringent performance standards and smoothing fluctuations in wind energy output. A dedicated communication system was also built to connect the project to HECO’s system operations and dispatch center.
“Project partners such as First Wind and HECO help showcase the potential and power of our utility-scale energy storage technology,” said Carlos Coe, CEO of Xtreme Power. “Our DPR represents the largest energy storage system integrated with a wind farm in North America, and we are proud to achieve this milestone while working with such marquee companies.”
RMT, which also handled construction for First Wind’s Utah-based Milford Wind project and is currently building the company’s expansion of the Kaheawa Wind project on Maui and the Sheffield Wind project in Vermont, led the construction activities for Kahuku Wind.
“We are pleased to continue our partnership with First Wind and to complete this innovative project on schedule,” said Frank Greb, Vice President and General Manager at RMT. “Over the six months of construction, RMT and our subcontractors employed nearly 200 people, many of whom were local workers.”
The Kahuku Wind project features the second-ever Habitat Conservation Plan approved for a wind energy project under Hawaii’s Endangered Species Act, which protects endangered species that may be found on or near the project site. The first such plan was put in place for First Wind’s 30 MW Kaheawa Wind project on Maui, which First Wind also operates. The Kaheawa Wind project serves nearly 9 percent of Maui’s annual electricity demand with clean, renewable energy – enough to supply nearly 11,000 households annually.
About First Wind
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 the capacity to generate up to 534 megawatts of power and projects under construction with the capacity to generate up to an additional 202 megawatts. For more information on First Wind, please visit www.firstwind.com or follow us on Twitter @FirstWind.
First Wind has a partnership in Hawaii with Makani Nui Associates, a Hawaii -based company. The partnership developed, constructed, financed, owns and operates Kaheawa Wind Power. Makani Nui is also a partner in the Kahuku Wind project.