The 14 turbines of the 21-megawatt Kaheawa Wind II project and a state-of-the-art battery storage system went online Monday, providing wind power to Maui residents.
Adjacent to the site of the Kaheawa Wind I project, which went online in 2006, the new turbines raise the total number of wind power units to 34 on the ridge overlooking Maalaea Bay and the total power-generating capacity to 51 megawatts, or enough to generate electricity for as many as 18,700 Maui homes annually, said a news release from Kaheawa developer First Wind.
Kaheawa Wind II accounted for about 7,700 homes in that equation, said Kekoa Kaluhiwa, spokesman for First Wind Energy.
Kaheawa Wind II’s 14 wind turbines, shown in this photo taken last month, have been online since Monday, supplying power needs of Maui residents. The 21-megawatt wind power project is located on a ridge overlooking Maalaea Bay.
The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo
Maui Electric Co. President Sharon Suzuki called the additional wind power "a welcome addition to MECO's energy portfolio and another huge milestone for Maui County as we help our state attain its clean energy goals."
"The battery storage component included in this project plays a critical role in helping MECO accept additional renewable energy from the Kaheawa II facility into our electrical grid," she added.
The battery system, a 34.5-kilovolt electrical collection system, is "not meant for long-term storage" but to "smooth" the flow of power to MECO, said Kaluhiwa.
The battery will allow for "voltage regulation," storing wind power during peak periods and drawing on that power during low periods, he explained.
The 24,000 battery cells "can absorb and push out power."
With the battery storage system, which is not a component in Kaheawa I, MECO can "take on more energy that is produced," said Kaluhiwa, noting that the battery was first installed at First Wind's Kahuku project.
"The system will maximize wind energy efficiency and helps MECO maintain reliable service for its customers," the news release said.
The state-of-the-art battery storage system was developed by Xtreme Power of Austin, Texas. Its Dynamic Power Resource is a utility-scale battery system that assists in meeting stringent performance standards and smoothing fluctuations in wind energy output, the news release said.
"This will be our most advanced system deployed to date, with the Xtreme Power control system simultaneously providing multiple renewable integration and grid support services such as ramp control, frequency response, voltage support and responsive reserves," said Alan Gotcher, chief executive officer of Xtreme Power.
RMT Inc., which began construction on Kaheawa Wind II in 2011, oversaw all civil and electrical infrastructure, including a 34.5/69 kilovolt substation, the electrical collection system and interconnection to the 69-kilovolt MECO transmission line.
RMT also built First Wind's 30-megawatt Kahuku Wind and is currently working on the 69-megawatt Kawailoa Wind, both on Oahu's North Shore.
Early last year, the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission approved a power purchase agreement between Kaheawa Wind II and MECO to sell as-available renewable energy to the utility at predetermined prices over a 20-year term.
"We now have projects in operation in five different states, but Hawaii has always shown a unique understanding and true leadership when it comes to developing homegrown sources of energy," said Paul Gaynor, chief executive officer of First Wind. "The expansion of our Kaheawa Wind project supports the state's aggressive renewable energy goals by providing an additional source of cost-competitive and clean electricity to the residents and businesses of Maui."
The project expansion further advances the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative, which aims to have 70 percent of Hawaii's energy come from clean, renewable sources by 2030, the news release added.
* Lee Imada can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.