The Hawaii Public Utilities Commission (HPUC) has approved a 20 years power purchase agreement (PPA) between Kahuku Wind Power and Hawaiian Electric Company, under which the utility will be able to purchase energy produced by the 30MW wind energy project to be constructed on Oahu’s North Shore.

The wind energy project will consist of 12 Clipper Liberty wind turbines each having 2.5MW capacity. Subsidiary of Massachusetts-based First Wind, Kahuku Wind Power, will also include a battery energy storage system developed by Xtreme Power to assist in meeting performance standards and smoothing fluctuations in wind energy output.

The project will also include a microwave communication system to connect the wind energy project to the Hawaiian Electric system operations and dispatch center. Construction is scheduled to begin later this year.

When completed, Kahuku Wind Power will have the capacity to generate an estimated 80,000MWh each year – enough energy to power the equivalent of 7,700 Oahu homes, reduce oil consumption by about 153,000 barrels a year and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by approximately 96 million pounds per year.

First Wind also owns and operates the 30MW Kaheawa wind energy project above Ma’alaea, Maui which provides up to 9% of the electricity distributed by Maui Electric Company.

Paul Gaynor, CEO of First Wind, said: ”First Wind appreciates the opportunity to work with Hawaiian Electric and the people of Oahu to decrease Hawaii’s reliance on imported fossil fuels for its electricity needs. Kahuku Wind Power is an important step toward meeting Hawaii’s clean energy goals and First Wind is proud to be a part of this process.”

Robbie Alm, executive vice president of Hawaiian Electric, said: ”First Wind brings demonstrated wind farm experience to this project and we welcome the opportunity to work with them to help meet the state’s goals of 70% clean energy by 2030.”