Hawaii is about to get another major wind power project, and the details about it will be announced this week at the State Capitol.
Senate Energy Chairman Kalani English and House Energy Chairwoman Hermina Morita will join Warren Bollmeier, president of the Hawaii Renewable Energy Alliance at noon Wednesday (Honolulu Room 325) to announce plans for a “wind farm to cut the Big Island’s dependence on imported fossil fuel, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and provide electrical energy for more than 10,000 homes.”
Also attending will be Andy Katell, senior vice president for General Electric, which makes wind power turbines, Tony Pace, billed as the chief executive officer of Apollo Power Corp. Dun & Bradstreet lists an Apollo Energy Corp. headquartered on South Point Road in Naalehu, near the southern end of the Big Island where there is already a major wind power farm. The Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism indicates that the new project includes a mechanical upgrade to the existing South Point Road wind farm, acquired by Apollo Energy Corp. in 1994 and currently operating at about 7 megawatts.
Many of the details have actually have been revealed elsewhere. Pacific Business News reported in June that General Electric had been selected to supply turbines for a Hawaiian Electric Industries wind power project on the Big Island, and that GE saw it as a demonstration opportunity.
“On an island with less than 300 megawatts of generating capacity, a 21-megawatt project can have a system-wide impact on grid reliability,” GE Vice President of Renewable Energy Victor Abate said.
GE Energy said in June it would supply 14 of its 1.5-megawatt wind turbines to Tawhiri Power, an affiliate of Apollo Power Corp., to generate power to sell to HEI subsidiary Hawaii Electric Light Co.
The Pakini Nui Wind Project is at South Point, at the bottom of the Big Island. The wind-swept peninsula, the southernmost point of the 50 states, has long been an optimal site for wind power. Installation was expected to be completed by next March.
Wind power first showed promise in Hawaii in 1980, with a wind demonstration project on a ridge above Kahuku on the upper windward coast Oahu. By 1990 there were five wind farms in the state. But a later operator of a Kahuku wind farm went bankrupt, and a wind farm on a Maui ridge was torn down in 1991 due to structural problems. Most produced less power than projected, and a key turbine manufacturer, Westinghouse, got out of the turbine business. By 1996 there was just one wind farm still generating power, with 81 turbines at Lalamilo Wells on the Big Island. But this year the same Maui ridge where wind power once failed has a new wind farm with next-generation turbines.
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