First Wind Receives DOE Loan Guarantee to Finance Construction of Oahu-based Kahuku Wind Project
First Wind, an independent US-based wind energy company, today was offered a conditional commitment from the US Department of Energy (DOE) for a $117 million loan guarantee to finance the construction of its proposed 30 megawatt (MW) Kahuku Wind project. Located in Kahuku, Hawaii, the project will have the capacity to generate enough clean, wind energy to power about 7,700 Oahu homes each year. First Wind plans to include innovative technology in this project, including a battery energy storage system.
The Kahuku Wind project will support the ambitious Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative, which aims to have 70 percent of the state‚Äôs 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.
‚ÄúThis is a positive step toward a major addition to Oahu‚Äôs portfolio of renewable energy sources,‚Äù said Robbie Alm, executive vice president of the Hawaiian Electric Company. ‚ÄúFirst Wind brings demonstrated wind farm experience to this project and we welcome the opportunity to work with them to help meet our state‚Äôs critical clean energy goals.‚Äù
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‚Ñ¢ turbines. Manufactured in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, the Liberty turbines are the largest wind turbines manufactured in North America.
‚ÄúWe 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,‚Äù 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.
‚ÄúGiven today‚Äôs 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,‚Äù Mr. Gaynor added.
First Wind successfully built and currently operates Hawaii‚Äôs largest wind energy facility, the 30 MW Kaheawa Wind project in Maui. Kaheawa Wind serves nearly 9 percent of Maui‚Äôs annual electricity needs with clean, renewable energy ‚Äì enough to supply nearly 11,000 households annually. As part of the Kaheawa project, First Wind also implemented what it believes is the nation‚Äôs 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.
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