Renewable Energy, Wind

First Wind starts commercial operations of Kawailoa Wind Project

Construction at First Wind’s Kawailoa Wind Project on the island of Oahu in Hawaii is now complete and commercial operations have begun.

Located on Kamehameha Schools’ Kawailoa Plantation lands on Oahu’s North Shore, the 69 MW wind project will be able to generate enough clean and cost-competitive wind energy to power the equivalent of about 14,500 homes on the island.

At full output, it has the potential to meet as much as five to ten percent of Oahu’s annual electrical demand and avoid the burning of about 300,000 barrels of oil each year.

The Kawailoa project is First Wind’s second project on Oahu and fourth in the Hawaiian islands.

Late last year, the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission approved a power purchase agreement between First Wind and the Hawaiian Electric Co. (HECO), which serves more than 400,000 Hawaii customers.

Hawaii state law mandates 70 percent clean energy for electricity and surface transportation by 2030, with 40 percent coming from local renewable sources. Kawailoa Wind will advance the state’s progress toward these goals.

Kamehameha Schools Senior Asset Manager Kapu Smith, who oversees all agricultural activities on Kamehameha’s 6,000 acres of Kawailoa farm lands, added that Kawailoa Wind provides important support to agriculture on the North Shore.

RMT Inc. oversaw the installation of 30 Siemens turbines on the Kawailoa Wind project site. Work on the project started in December 2011 and created an average of 108 construction-related jobs while generating revenue for the surrounding community.

The project drove nearly 220,000 on-site labor hours during construction, and dozens of Hawaii businesses were involved through development and construction supply chains.

Now generating clean energy for the island’s electrical grid, the Kawailoa Wind is expected to reduce oil consumption by about 300,000 barrels of oil on Oahu per year, which in turn would reduce emissions of carbon dioxide by more than 134,000 tons on an annual basis.