By Gary Thomas
An independent wind energy company, First Wind has completed the construction of its Kaheawa Wind II project and has commenced commercial operations. The 21 MW project includes a novel battery energy storage system designed for controlling the fluctuations that occur during output of wind energy.
The wind project is an additional source of clean and cost-competitive energy and along with the Kaheawa Wind I project it can provide 51 MW of power for more than 18,700 Maui homes each year.
The CEO of First Wind, Paul Gaynor praised Gov. Abercrombie, Lt. Gov. Schatz, Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa, Maui Energy Commissioner Doug McLeod and the state legislature for their commitment towards the Hawaii’s Clean Energy Initiative. By 2030, the initiative aims to generate 70% of the energy required for Hawaii through renewable sources.
The Hawaii Public Utilities Commission has approved a 20-year, sell as-available, renewable energy power purchase agreement between the Maui Electric Company and Kaheawa Wind II. A 34.5 kV electrical collection system and a 69 kV interconnection to the Maui Electric Company’s transmission line were overseen by the constructor of the wind project, RMT. The project involved over 50 Hawaii-based suppliers and contractors. The novel dynamic power resource battery energy storage system was provided by Xtreme Power of Austin.
First Wind had implemented a Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) for its Kaheawa Wind I utility-scale wind project. The plan aimed to help conserve three endangered bird species, including the Hawaiian hoary bat. The company is expanding is initiatives and has embarked on a second HCP as part of Kaheawa Wind II for the endangered species.
The Kaheawa Wind I and II projects will produce electricity equivalent to consuming 70,000 tons of coal or 333,000 barrels of oil, every year. The Environmental Protection Agency’s Emissions and Generation Resource Integrated Database states that, in terms of CO2 emissions, the power generated will be equivalent to reducing 126,000 metric tons of CO2.