First Wind Celebrates the Kaheawa Wind 5th Anniversary
By Sonia Isotov
Today, First Wind along with its partner Makani Nui Associates celebrated its five-year anniversary of successful operations at their 30 MW West Maui-based Kaheawa Wind Power I (KWP I) project.
During a tour for representatives from the private, public and nonprofit sectors, who are attending the Hawaii State Association of Counties Conference this week on Maui, First Wind held a brief “birthday” ceremony, complete with birthday cake.
“As our first project to achieve commercial operations, KWP I has always been special, serving as not just a model for other First Wind projects, but for the industry as a whole,” said Paul Gaynor, chief executive officer of First Wind. “During its five years of commercial operations and during the years of development beforehand, we have been fortunate to have incredible support from the State of Hawaii and the Maui community. We are pleased that we are now expanding the project to further support both Maui’s and the state’s renewable energy goals.”
Company officials conducted tours of KWP I’s existing operations as well as the 21 MW Kaheawa Wind Power II (KWP II) project, which is currently under construction on an adjacent site.
According to a company statement, KWP I has generated nearly 563 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of clean electricity since it went online June 22, 2006. This is reportedly the equivalent amount of energy to 902,604 barrels of oil.
KWP I powers approximately 11,000 homes on Maui a year or about 9 percent of the island’s energy. When KWP II is complete, the combined projects will general a reported capacity of 51 MW, which will be potentially enough energy to support 20,000 Maui homes annually.
KWB I is also reportedly the first-in-industry Habitat Conservation Plan, ensuring the protection of bird, bat and plant species that might have been affected during construction and operations.