First Wind Receives DOE Loan Guarantee to Finance Construction of Oahu-based Kahuku Wind Project
03/05/2010 - 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's 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.
"This is a positive step toward a major addition to Oahu’s portfolio of renewable energy sources," said Robbie Alm, executive vice president of the Hawaiian Electric Company. "First Wind brings demonstrated wind farm experience to this project and we welcome the opportunity to work with them to help meet our state’s critical clean energy goals."
First Wind 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™ turbines. Manufactured in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, the Liberty turbines are the largest wind turbines manufactured in North America.
"We 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," said Paul Gaynor, CEO of First Wind.
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