Energy Department loans $117 million to Hawaii wind project

The Big Island gets a big Recovery Act loan for a 30-megawatt wind farm.

The Department of Energy finalized a $117 million loan to Hawaii's Kahuku Wind Power Project yesterday. The Big Island will become home to a 30-megawatt wind farm, which will power an estimated 7,700 homes. The power plant will also employ an estimated 200 islanders.

Hawaiian Senator Daniel Inouye said in a statement:

This project represents what our national energy policy is attempting to accomplish: clean energy displacing imported oil in Hawaii to generate electricity, and in the process reducing our carbon output and creating green jobs.

The turbines arriving in Hawaii by ship is shown above. Construction on the Kahuku project began earlier this month.

A wind farm on Maui (operated by First Wind Holdings) generates almost 9 percent of that island's electricity.

And when the Pacific breeze doesn't blow over the Big Island? There will be a 10-megawatt energy storage system to help keep the electricity flowing. After the project's completion (slated for TK) it will be the first to combine Clipper wind turbines (12 of them, 2.5 MW each) with Xtreme Power's storage system.

Hawaiian Clean Energy Initiative aims to have clean energy comprise 70 percent of the state’s electric power and  ground transportation by 2030. According to the DOE, Hawaii's new wind farm has the potential to cut carbon emissions by about 96 million pounds per year.

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This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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