The $140 million, 21 megawatt Auwahi Wind project on Ulupalakua Ranch went online Thursday, Sempra U.S. Gas & Power and BP Wind Energy announced.
"We are very pleased to complete construction of Auwahi Wind both on time and on budget," said Jeffrey W. Martin, president and chief executive officer of Sempra, the project's owner and operator. "The addition of new, clean energy from our project will be a boost for Maui's infrastructure and will help Hawaii achieve its goal of securing 40 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2030.
"This project could not have been built without the enthusiastic support of the local community, the Ulupalakua Ranch and neighbors who recognize the importance of sustainable energy."
Power from the eight-turbine wind project is being sold to Maui Electric Co. under a 20-year contract. Helping to regulate the sometimes intermittent nature of wind is a 10 megawatt battery capable of storing 4.4 megawatts of power
Construction of the wind farm on Ulupalakua Ranch began in March and involved more than 180 workers. Auwahi Wind will employ four full-time employees.
The ranch is leasing 5,280 acres of ranch land in the Auwahi area to Sempra for the wind farm, a win-win for the ranch and Sempra, said Sumner Erdman, president of Ulupalakua Ranch.
"BP and Sempra U.S. Gas & Power have been terrific partners," said Erdman. "The Auwahi project protects the environment, maximizes wind as a renewable energy resource and allows us to maintain the rural open space and grazing areas necessary for us to raise our cattle."