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Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Lāna‘i and Moloka‘i wind farms could provide power to O‘ahu
By News Release @ 6:37 PM :: 7554 Views :: DHHL, Maui County, Energy

RELATED: Enviros vs Clean Energy: Wind, wave energy platforms proposed in Hawaii whale waters

HONOLULU – Governor Linda Lingle along with Castle & Cooke, First Wind Hawai‘i and Hawaiian Electric Company today announced an agreement that could lead to large wind farms on both Lāna‘i and Moloka‘i providing clean energy to O‘ahu. These wind farms would feed into an inter-island cable system currently being discussed that could ultimately interconnect the major Hawaiian islands for increased grid reliability, security and consumer and business cost savings through access to renewables.

“This agreement can significantly help meet our goal of increasing energy independence for Hawai‘i by speeding up the addition of a large increment of clean energy onto the O‘ahu grid,” said Governor Lingle. “It shows that we are making real progress toward our clean energy goals by working together in the best interests of Hawai‘i.”

Under the energy agreement signed between the State of Hawai‘i and Hawaiian Electric in October 2008 as part of the Hawai‘i Clean Energy Initiative, Hawaiian Electric committed to increasing renewable energy statewide by 1,100 megawatts by 2030. A major piece of this objective included 400 megawatts of “Big Wind” added to O‘ahu’s grid from Lāna‘i and/or Moloka‘i by way of an undersea cable developed with the assistance of the State of Hawai‘i. This agreement defines how the parties can move forward together.

Castle & Cooke earlier announced plans to develop a 400 megawatt (MW) wind farm on Lāna‘i. First Wind Hawai‘i, which built and operates the Kaheawa Wind Farm on Maui, has proposed a 300 to 400 MW wind farm on Moloka‘i.

Through this agreement, both wind farm developers have concurred to smaller initial projects, each up to 200 MW. The agreement clears the way for both projects to move ahead to negotiate contracts to sell their energy to Hawaiian Electric Company on O‘ahu.

These contracts will require approval from the Hawai‘i Public Utilities Commission.

Both wind project developers will cooperate with Hawaiian Electric to research, promote and coordinate the reliable integration of the wind projects into the O‘ahu electric grid. As a variable power source, large amounts of wind added to a stand-alone grid, such as O‘ahu’s, poses unusual challenges to operating the island’s electric systems.

Both wind projects depend on the ability to transmit the electric power to O‘ahu from Lāna‘i and/or Moloka‘i. Thus, the developers will assist the state in planning the undersea cable and in planning needed interconnection facilities by Hawaiian Electric.  

“We are all in agreement that time is of the essence if we are going to increase our energy security and protect our economy from continued excessive dependence on imported fossil fuel,” said Hawai‘i Energy Administrator Ted Peck. “Thus, all parties and the state have agreed to meet regularly to review progress on the respective wind farm projects, the inter-island cable and the O‘ahu interconnection lines.”

“At First Wind Hawai‘i, we welcome this agreement as a way to focus our energies on moving forward with another major project to complement our very successful Kaheawa Wind Farm and other projects we are now developing for Maui, O‘ahu and Kaua‘i. This enables us to bring economies of scale to our wind development efforts as a major provider of clean, renewable energy for Hawai‘i,” said Paul Gaynor, president and CEO of First Wind Hawai‘i.

“Lāna‘i already is the site of the largest photovoltaic farm in the state and this project will add significantly to the island’s clean energy contributions for Hawai‘i,” said Harry Saunders, president of Castle & Cooke Hawai‘i.  “This agreement provides some certainty and assurances for us to continue to advance our wind farm proposal to harness Lāna‘i’s wind resources.  This will result in the creation of green jobs and economic opportunities for Lāna‘i, while protecting its environment and its special sense of place for residents and visitors.”

“Castle and Cooke and First Wind deserve considerable credit for working together to help get more renewable energy online faster for our state,” said Hawaiian Electric Executive Vice President Robbie Alm. “These two wind projects are absolutely essential to meeting our Hawai‘i Clean Energy commitments and we are very pleased to be able to work with both developers to negotiate purchase power contracts as soon as possible.”

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U.S. DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY INCREASES FEDERAL COMMITMENT TO HAWAI‘I’S CLEAN ENERGY INITIATIVE

HONOLULU – Governor Linda Lingle announced today that the U.S. Department of Energy (USDOE) has assigned two senior personnel from its National Renewable Energy Laboratory to assist the State of Hawai‘i in implementing the Hawai‘i Clean Energy Initiative (HCEI).  The HCEI is a partnership between the USDOE and the state that was formed in January 2008 with the goal of having 70 percent of Hawai‘i’s energy come from clean sources by the year 2030.
“The assignment by the U.S. Department of Energy of senior personnel from its National Renewable Energy Laboratory to assist Hawai‘i in wind and solar systems integration and transmission and energy efficiency shows the federal government’s continuing commitment to the Hawai‘i Clean Energy Initiative,” said Governor Lingle.
Debra Lew and Paul Norton, who will be based in Hawai‘i, are senior engineers and project leaders from NREL.  Based in Golden, Colorado, NREL is USDOE's primary laboratory for renewable energy and energy efficiency research and development.
Lew, who will work with Hawai‘i’s utilities, brings a wealth of experience relating to the variability and uncertainty of wind and solar power on the electricity grid and its consequent operating and cost impacts.  As a senior project leader with the National Wind Technology Center, Lew is leading the Western Wind and Solar Integration Study, the largest wind and solar integration study to date.  She also has extensive experience in working with transmission planning groups on the deployment of renewable energy technologies. Lew also was the group manager for NREL’s Environmental and International Group, which focused on deployment of renewable energy technologies in developing countries, and the lead for NREL’s China program, which focused on rural electrification, policies and programs, wind integration, and renewable energy business development. 
Norton will work with the Energy Efficiency Branch in the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism’s (DBEDT) State Energy Office.  A senior engineer with NREL’s Center for Buildings and Thermal Systems, Norton brings 14 years of research experience focused in residential energy with an emphasis on the design and performance analysis of zero energy homes and communities.
Lew and Norton are the second and third national energy specialists to be assigned to assist Hawai‘i in implementing its energy independence efforts. 
Since October 2006, under an Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA) agreement with the USDOE, Bill Parks, deputy director of research and development in USDOE’s Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability, has been assigned to DBEDT’s Strategic Industries Division.  Parks has been instrumental in fostering increased coordination and collaboration between USDOE and Hawai‘i by and organizing strategic partnerships with the energy industry, federal agencies and private sector organizations.

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