U.S. Energy Secretary secures $117 million loan for Kahuku wind farm

HONOLULU—U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu offered a conditional commitment on a $117 million loan guarantee to finance the construction and start-up of a 30 MW wind energy project in Kahuku, Hawaii.

Kahuku Wind Power, LLC will install twelve 2.5 MW wind turbine generators along with a battery energy storage system for electricity load stability. The loan guarantee is being supported by funds made available from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

“This investment will create jobs and cut our dependence on oil, while promoting America’s leadership in the global race for the clean energy industries of tomorrow,” Chu said.

Located on the island of Oahu, the Kahuku project will contribute to Hawaii’s Clean Energy Initiative goal of meeting 70 percent of the state’s energy needs with clean energy by 2030.

Currently, each island uses an isolated electric grid that relies on imported oil, which currently generates 90 percent of the state’s energy supply. By harnessing wind power, the project is expected to supply electricity to 7,700 households and avoid the production of nearly 160 million pounds of carbon dioxide, a major greenhouse gas.

The project sponsor, First Wind Holdings LLC, estimates that construction of the Kahuku project will create 200 jobs. After completion, the project will provide 6 to 10 full-time clean energy jobs in Kahuku. The electricity generated by the project will be sold to Hawaiian Electric Company, Inc.

This is the eighth conditional commitment for a loan guarantee for clean energy projects entered into by the DOE Loan Guarantee Program Office.