U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

Wind Program

Secretary Chu Offers $117 Million Conditional Commitment for Hawaii Wind Power Project

March 5, 2010

U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu today announced that the Department of Energy has offered a conditional commitment on a $117 million loan guarantee to finance the construction and start-up of an innovative 30 megawatt (MW) wind energy project in Kahuku, Hawaii. Kahuku Wind Power, LLC will install twelve 2.5 MW wind turbine generators along with a battery energy storage system for electricity load stability. The loan guarantee is being supported by funds made available from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

"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 Chu.

Located on the island of Oahu, the Kahuku project will contribute to Hawaii's Clean Energy Initiative goal of meeting 70% 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% of the state's energy supply. By harnessing wind power, the project is expected to supply electricity to 7,700 households and avoid the production of nearly 160 million pounds of carbon dioxide, a major greenhouse gas.

The project sponsor, First Wind Holdings LLC, estimates that construction of the Kahuku project will create 200 jobs. After completion, the project will provide 6 to 10 full-time clean energy jobs in Kahuku. The electricity generated by the project will be sold to Hawaiian Electric Company, Inc.

This is the eighth conditional commitment for a loan guarantee for clean energy projects entered into by the Department's Loan Guarantee Program Office. It represents another step toward making the United States a worldwide leader in the manufacture and deployment of clean energy technology. For more information on this program, please visit the Loan Guarantee Program Web site.