Honolulu, June 17, 2011 — The Hawaii Public Utilities Commission has approved a 20-year contract for Maui Electric Co. to purchase 21 MW of wind power from Sempra Generation's Auwahi Wind project on the Ulupalakua Ranch in southeastern Maui.
The project is currently undergoing environmental review by Maui County, state of Hawaii and federal agencies. Upon approvals, construction on Auwahi Wind is targeted to begin in early 2012. Construction is expected to take about one year, creating about 150 construction jobs at peak and five full-time positions to operate the facility.
When fully operational, Auwahi Wind will be capable of generating enough emission-free electricity to power the equivalent of 10,000 typical Maui homes. This new source of locally-produced wind energy will help Hawaii reach its clean energy goal of obtaining 40 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030.
An important component of Auwahi Wind is a battery storage unit capable of storing electricity generated by the project's wind turbines during the typically windy morning and night hours. This stored power will help to regulate and smooth intermittent wind power, providing a valuable source of grid stability for Maui Electric.