A little bit of the future could be on display in Hawaii. A wind energy and battery storage project just got a major boost from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). And for all the talk we hear about energy independence, on a small scale, it looks like this project will deliver a small degree of that independence.
First Wind Holdings wind turbine power projects in the U.S. and Hawaii
Project developer First Wind Holdings just received a conditional $117 million loan guarantee to finance the construction and start-up of a 30 megawatt energy project in Kahuku, Hawaii. Clipper Windpower will provide 12 of its 2.5 megawatt Liberty turbines. The Kahuku Wind project includes a 15 MVA, 10 megawatt per hour battery energy storage system to enhance load stability. The battery system, developed by Xtreme Power, of Kyle, Texas, enables storage of energy to provide as much as 10 megawatts for at least an hour during periods of low wind speeds.
Hawaii's Clean Energy Initiative goal aims to meet 70 percent of the state's energy needs with clean energy by 2030. Currently, each island uses an isolated electric grid that relies upon the use of imported oil, which currently comprises 90 percent of the state's energy supply.
Go to any renewable energy conference and you're bound to hear plenty of talk about energy independence. Before the connection was made between wind power generated overnight and plug-in electric vehicles recharging at the same time, which are years away on a mass scale, I often cringed during the discussion.
While coal generates about half of our electricity, nuclear about 20 percent and a large share from natural gas imported from Canada, hardly a hostile state, how is displacing two percent of oil-generated electricity from mostly foreign sources going to impact national security?
In one small way, this project answers that question.
"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," said Secretary of Energy Steven Chu.
This time there's no disputing that statement.
COMMENTARY: To view a video of Kahuku Wind project click here.
Courtesy of an article dated March 8, 2010 appearing in RenewablesBiz