Abercrombie, North Shore community leaders welcome power from Kahuku Wind

Jade Eckardt

HALEIWA—Last week, First Wind, an independent U.S. based wind energy company, and Hawaiian Electric Company held a ribbon cutting ceremony marking the commencement of commercial operations of the Kahuku Wind project. Although the site has been completed since late 2010, the 12 turbines were operating to test the site and the electricity was not yet in HECO’s grid.

State and community leaders gathered at the project site located just outside of Kahuku, to “recognize the environmental and economic benefits” of the 30 MW wind farm, according to First Wind.

The Kahuku site, which is the first wind farm on Oahu in over 20 years, features an innovative battery storage system and has the capacity to generate enough renewable energy to power up to 7,700 Oahu homes each year.

Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie led the celebration and was joined by officials from First Wind and the community to conduct a traditional untying of a Hawaiian maile lei at the entrance of the wind project’s operations building.

“Renewable energy projects such as Kahuku Wind are significant as they advance Hawaii’s pursuit of energy independence,” Abercrombie said. “By harnessing resources such as the wind to provide renewable and sustainable power to Oahu’s grid, we are building a clean energy infrastructure that will provide both immediate and long-term environmental and economic benefits to the people of Hawaii.”

Now that Kahuku Wind is fully up and running, First Wind is looking to build a larger wind farm approximately one mile inland from Kamehameha Highway in Kawailoa. The prosed farm would be home to approximately 30 turbines, each slightly smaller than the turbines at Kahuku Wind.