WIND | In Operation

Auwahi Wind
auwahi-wind_160X120p
Location: Maui, HI
Capacity: 21 MW
Homes Powered: About 14,500 (HI)
Completed: Late 2012
Customer: Maui Electric Company

Auwahi Wind, located on the wind-rich Ulupalakua Ranch on the southeast coast of Maui, Hawaii, is a joint venture of Sempra U.S. Gas & Power and BP Wind Energy. The 21-megawatt (MW) wind farm was completed in December 2012, bringing Hawaii closer to its goal of securing 100 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2045. Auwahi Wind’s eight turbines generate enough electricity to power approximately 14,500 typical Hawaii homes. The project created about 180 construction jobs at peak and seven full-time positions.

An important component of the project is an 11-MW grid battery system. Energy from the battery system helps to regulate and sustain power to Maui Electric Company’s grid during variable wind conditions. The battery storage component of this project includes state-of-the-art monitoring and safety controls that ensure reliable operation for the life of the project. The wind power from Auwahi Wind has been sold to Maui Electric Company under a 20-year contract.

Commitment to Community

The Auwahi Wind project has enabled Ulupalakua Ranch to continue ranching operations. A farm lease agreement between Sempra U.S. Gas & Power and Ulupalakua Ranch provides the ranch’s owners with the opportunity to thrive as cattle farmers and to maintain the rural character of thousands of acres of open space.

Sempra U.S. Gas & Power helped to implement infrastructure improvements for native Hawaiians living in kahikinui, a remote community neighboring the Auwahi Wind project. For decades, these residents have lived “off the grid,” relying on the government and private sectors for assistance with modern infrastructure. Sempra U.S. Gas & Power funded and managed a major road improvement project that enables residents to traverse more easily through mountainous terrain.

Maui Economic Development Board received funding through a grant from Sempra U.S. Gas & Power for the development of a new education app aimed at teaching science and math students about wind farms. These funds also supported the translation of island energy curriculum into the Hawaiian language for use in immersion science classrooms.

Benefits

  • Created about 180 construction jobs and seven full-time positions
  • Supports Hawaii’s goal to obtain 100 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2045
  • Provides a new source of clean, locally produced power
  • Includes up to 4.4 MWh storage capacity (11 MW power capacity) to support stability of the power grid
  • Provides economic benefits to the community, including new sources of revenue to local land owners and government entities, plus local providers of goods and services
  • Reduces greenhouse gas emissions by about 60,500 tons annually, the equivalent of taking approximately 12,500 cars off the road