APRIL 2010

First Wind receives DOE loan guarantee for wind project

First Wind, an independent United States based wind energy company, was offered a conditional commitment from the Department of Energy (DOE) for a $117 million loan guarantee to finance the construction of its proposed 30 megawatt (MW) Kahuku Wind project.

Located in Kahuku, Hawaii, the project will have the capacity to generate enough wind energy to power approximately 7,700 Oahu homes each year.

The Kahuku Wind project will support the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative, which aims to have 70 percent of the state’s energy for electricity and ground transportation come from clean energy by 2030. The work on the Kahuku Wind project will create employment opportunities during design, engineering and construction including approximately 200 construction jobs.

The project is in final permitting stages. Construction will begin after the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission approves the project and the DOE guaranteed funding is in place.

First Wind intends to incorporate innovative technology in its Kahuku Wind project: a 15 MVA, 10 MW/hour battery energy storage system to enhance electricity load stability. Developed by Xtreme Power, of Kyle, Texas, the patented battery system will enable the Kahuku Wind project to store energy and provide as much as 10 MW of power for at least an hour during periods of low wind speeds. The Kahuku Wind project will also include twelve 2.5 MW Clipper Liberty™ turbines. Manufactured in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, the Liberty turbines are the largest wind turbines manufactured in North America.

The DOE’s Loan Programs Office manages the nation’s green energy loan portfolio and is authorized to issue loan guarantees under Title XVII of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 for eligible projects that (a) avoid, reduce, or sequester air pollutants or anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases and (b) employ new or significantly improved technologies as compared to technologies in service in the United States at the time the guarantee is issued.

First Wind successfully built and currently operates Hawaii’s largest wind energy facility, the 30 MW Kaheawa Wind project in Maui. Kaheawa Wind serves nearly 9 percent of Maui’s annual electricity needs with clean, renewable energy.