NREL enters wind energy research partnership in Hawaii

Golden, CO, April 4, 2008 — The U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has signed a memorandum of understanding with UPC Wind to establish a remote research affiliate partner site at UPC Wind’s Kaheawa Wind Farm on Maui. It is the first such partner site for the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s wind technology program outside of its base in Colorado.

The partnership expands on the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative between the State of Hawaii and the U.S. Department of Energy that started in January and aims to have 70 percent of Hawaii’s energy come from renewable sources by 2030.

The Maui partner site will conduct research and development on advanced wind energy technologies, including operational and control studies, energy storage options and integration of renewable electricity into existing grids. The research’s goal is to help maximize the integration of wind into Hawaii’s utility system so that this renewable resource can compete with traditional energy sources, providing a renewable alternative for Hawaii’s and the nation’s energy needs.

“This is the first presence for the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s wind technology program outside of its base in Colorado,” said NREL director Dan Arvizu who was in Hawaii to sign the agreement and inspect the new Maui site. “NREL recognizes the potential in Hawaii both to deploy wind technologies to meet our energy needs and to use successes here as models for other states and regions.”

Four Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative technical working groups have recently completed their first round of work. Their work focused on identifying barriers to the rapid adoption of clean energy in areas of electricity generation; transmission and distribution; end-user efficiency; and transportation, including biofuels and advanced transportation technologies.

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