On Friday, First Wind, an independent U.S.-based wind energy company, was offered a conditional commitment from the Department of Energy for a $117 million loan guarantee to finance the construction of its proposed 30-MW Kahuku Wind project in Kahuku, Hawaii. The project is expected to include a battery energy storage system.

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 Steel Winds Project in Lacawanna, N.Y., was the first installation of these turbines. The project was a 2007 POWER magazine Top Plant.)

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% of Maui’s annual electricity needs.

As part of the Kaheawa project, First Wind also implemented what it believes is the nation’s first Habitat Conservation Plan for a working wind energy project. The plan is designed to protect endangered species near the project.

Hawaii’s goal is to have 70% of the state’s energy for electricity and ground transportation come from clean energy by 2030.

Sources: First Wind, DOE