Auwahi Wind Farm Now Operational
By Sonia Isotov
Sempra US Gas & Power and BP Wind Energy today announced the full commercial operation of the 21 megawatt Auwahi Wind facility.
The power project includes eight new wind turbines located on the southeast ridge of Haleakala.
“BP and Sempra US Gas & Power have been terrific partners,” said Sumner Erdman, president of Ulupalakua Ranch, in a written statement. “The Auwahi project protects the environment, maximizes wind as a renewable energy resource and allows us to maintain the rural open space and grazing areas necessary for us to raise our cattle.”
“We are very pleased to complete construction of Auwahi Wind both on time and on budget,” said Jeffrey W. Martin, president and chief executive officer of Sempra US Gas & Power.
“The addition of new, clean energy from our project will be a boost for Maui’s infrastructure and will help Hawaii achieve its goal of securing 40% of its energy from renewable sources by 2030. This project could not have been built without the enthusiastic support of the local community, the Ulupalakua Ranch and neighbors who recognize the importance of sustainable
The power from Auwahi Wind has been sold to Maui Electric Company (MECO) under a 20-year contract. The turbines will generate enough clean electricity to power about 10,000 typical Maui homes.
An important component of the project is a 10 MW battery capable of storing 4.4 megawatt-hours of power. Energy from the battery will help regulate and sustain power to the MECO grid during light wind conditions.
Construction of the wind farm on Ulupalakua Ranch began in March 2012, and involved more than 180 workers. Auwahi Wind will employ four full-time employees.
“It was just seven months ago that the groundbreaking for Auwahi Wind was held and today we’re celebrating its completion,” said Brian Schatz, US Senate appointee for Hawaii.
“This project is an important step toward energy self-sufficiency and has the added benefit of helping Ulupalakua remain financially viable and preserve a ranching lifestyle on Maui and protect open space and habitat for native plants and animals.”