Hawaii has been making some big moves on renewable power–first, there was Honolulu’s ambitious seawater air-conditioning program for federal buildings, then there was a loan from the U.S. Department of Energy for a major wind power project in Kahuku. Now Hawaii is moving ahead with a large wind energy project. The Hawaii Public Utilities Commission recently announced that they approved a power purchase agreement between Kahuku Wind Power and Hawaiian Electric Company. The utility will purchase renewable energy produced by a 30 megawatt wind energy project planned off of Oahu’s North Shore.
Located west of the town of Kahuku, the wind energy project will consist of 12 Clipper Liberty wind turbines, each capable of delivering 2.5-MW of electricity. A battery storage system–one of the largest of its kind in Hawaii–will also be included to assist with meeting utility performance standards and helping to smooth fluctuations because of changing weather. A microwave communication system will connect the wind energy project to Hawaiian Electric’s system operations and dispatch centers.
Following in the footsteps of First Wind’s Kaheawa Wind Power on Maui, the Kahuku wind project will use a Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) established in conjunction with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Division of Forestry and Wildlife under the Hawaii’s Department of Land and Natural Resources. Construction is scheduled to begin later this year.