Hawaii’s Biggest Wind Farm Celebrates Groundbreaking

February 27, 2012 by  
Filed under Green Energy News

First Wind, an independent U.S.-based wind energy company, celebrated the start of construction of its 69-megawatt Kawailoa Wind project on Kamehameha Schools’ Kawailoa Plantation lands on Oahu’s North Shore. Once complete, Kawailoa Wind will be the largest wind energy facility in Hawaii.

The site’s thirty 2.3-megawatt Siemens wind turbines will have the capacity to generate enough clean, renewable wind energy to power the equivalent of approximately 14,500 homes on the island, or as much as five percent of Oahu’s annual electrical demand.

During a groundbreaking ceremony on the project site, First Wind officials were joined by U.S. Senator Daniel K. Akaka, Hawaii’s Lieutenant Governor Brian Schatz, State Senator Mike Gabbard and Honolulu Mayor Peter Carlisle, along with several other state and local leaders.

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 significantly advance the state’s progress toward these goals.

“We are pleased to begin construction on our fourth project in Hawaii, and the largest wind energy facility in the state. When it comes to renewable energy, Hawaii has proven to be a national leader, innovator and an excellent partner,” said Paul Gaynor, CEO of First Wind.

First Wind owns and operates two other wind energy projects in Hawaii, and is currently building another project on Maui. Kahuku Wind, also located on Oahu’s North Shore, is a 30-megawatt wind project. The Kahuku project went online in March of 2011. Beginning commercial operations in 2006, the 30-megawatt Kaheawa Wind project is above Ma‘alaea. First Wind is currently building a second Maui project, Kaheawa Wind Power II that will consist of 14 wind turbines, capable of generating 21 megawatts of energy. Once Kaheawa Wind II is complete, the two Kaheawa projects will have a capacity of 51 megawatts.

RMT Inc., which also handled construction for First Wind’s Kahuku Wind project on Oahu and is currently building Kaheawa Wind II on Maui, will lead construction efforts for Kawailoa Wind.

Photo shows construction on the second phase of Kaheawa Wind, where 14 turbines are currently being installed. Photo courtesy of First Wind. 

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