Hawaiian’s harness wind power

GE Energy wind turbines have been selected for a project on Hawaii’s Big Island that will add 21 megawatts of wind-generated capacity to the state’s power grid.

GE Energy’s wind turbine technology has been selected for a project on the South Point of the island of Hawaii (the BigIsland) that will add 21 megawatts of wind-generated capacity to the state’s power grid.

GE will supply 14 of its 1.5-megawatt wind turbines for the Pakini Nui Wind Project, which will generate power for customers of the Hawaiian Electric Light Company (HELCO), a subsidiary of the Hawaiian Electric Company. The owner/developer, Tawhiri Power, is a third-party entity created by Apollo Power Corporation, the owner of the existing Kamao’a Wind Farm at South Point.

“This project illustrates how the Big Island of Hawaii, along with other Hawaiian Islands, can serve as a laboratory for the integration of wind power into electrical grids,” said Victor Abate, vice president of renewable energy for GE Energy. “On an island with less than 300 megawatts of generating capacity, a 21-megawatt project can have a system-wide impact on grid reliability. As a result, this project will feature several of GE’s grid-friendly capabilities.”

They will include WindRIDE-THRU, which allows wind turbines to remain in operation (rather than trip off line) through a 100 percent voltage drop. The ability to ride through a 100 percent voltage drop is expected to become a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) grid requirement for 2008 wind projects.

The Pakini Nui project site, on the southern tip of the island of Hawaii, is the southernmost point in the United States. Strong prevailing eastern trade winds make this an ideal wind site.

The state of Hawaii has a Renewable Portfolio Standard requiring each utility to derive 20 percent of its net electricity sales from renewable energy sources by 2020. The power purchaser for this project, HELCO, already derives 29 percent of its power sales from wind and geothermal power

In addition to supplying the wind turbines, GE Energy will supervise installation and perform the initial start-up of the machines. Project completion is expected by March 2007.