Sempra Signs 20-Yr Wind Power Contract With Maui Electric

April 8, 2011, 12:50 PM HST · Updated April 8, 1:20 PM
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Auwahi Wind Project simulated view by Tetra Tech EC, Inc., courtesy Draft EIS.

By Sonia Isotov

Sempra Generation, a subsidiary of Sempra Energy, announced that it has entered into a 20-year contract to sell 21 megawatts (MW) of wind energy to Maui Electric Company from the Auwahi Wind project on the Ulupalakua Ranch.

Sempra Generation said in a statement that it expected to begin construction on Auwahi Wind farm in early 2012 and expects to create approximately 150 local constructions jobs and maintain about five positions to operate the facility.

It was also noted in the statement that when fully operational in late 2012, Auwahi Wind will be capable of generating clean electricity equivalent to the amount used by 10,000 typical Maui homes.

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Both Maui Electric Company and Sempra Genration are keen to help Hawaii reach its clean energy goal of 40 percent of electricity from renewable sources by 2030 and believe that wind energy is one way to do it.

“We are excited to be a part of this growing renewable energy market and look forward to helping advance the sustainability goals of Maui and the state of Hawaii,” said Jeffrey W. Martin, president and chief executive officer of Sempra Generation, in the written statement. “In doing so, we also recognize our obligation to responsibly develop this resource in a way that is respectful of the natural environment and the region’s cultural heritage. Sempra Generation takes this responsibility seriously, and we will continue to work in close partnership with the local community to ensure this is a clean energy project Maui residents can be proud of.”

“MECO’s partnership with Sempra Generation is yet another milestone toward bringing Maui County and the State of Hawaii closer to realizing our renewable energy goals,” added Maui Electric Company President Ed Reinhardt, in the same statement. “The addition of battery storage to this project is critical to integrating this intermittent power reliably and we commend Sempra Generation for taking this important step. While we recognize that there is much to be done to reach our 2030 goal, it is clear that diversifying our renewable energy portfolio with sources like wind, solar, wave, biomass, and biofuels is essential to our success.

The project is currently undergoing an extensive environmental review by Maui County, and state and federal agencies, and the contract between Maui Electric Company and Sempra Generation is still subject to approval by the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission

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