Q: What is Hawi Energy?
A: Hawi Wind Farm is an existing wind project located in Hawi, Hawaiʻi, and delivers 10.56 MW of clean, renewable energy to the residents of Kohala.
Q: What is proposed?
A: Hawi Wind Farm Power 15 year Power Purchase Agreement with Hawaiian Electric is up for extension. A 20 year extension is being proposed with minor equipment refurbishing to repower the plant.
Q: Where is the project located?
A: The wind farm is spread across 250 acres in Hawai’i Island’s Upolu Point near the northwest tip of the island, in the Kohala region. The 250 acres of open land is bounded to the west by Upolu Airport Road and surrounded by open field grazed by cattle to the north, south, and east.
Q: What’s the benefit of the project being located in this specific location?
A: In 2006, the location was chosen for several reasons, including the compatibility with cattle ranching and the acreage to allow the turbines to be generously spaced. It was also chosen because of its proximity to the HECO substation, which allowed a seamless point of connectivity and resulted in greater grid stability for the region.
Q: How much energy is produced at this project?
A: The project’s output is 10.56 MW, which powers over 2100 homes in the Kohala region.
Q: Why is this project needed?
A: Hawaii has mandated that our state rely on clean energy by 2045, and projects like this one are the cornerstone of achieving that goal. By continuing to displace fossil fuel with clean energy, the state can generate its own clean energy here in the islands for less cost and less environmental impact than relying on fossil fuels.
Q: What value does the project bring to our Hawaii island communities?
A: Lower energy rates, local jobs, local clean energy, agriculture land preserved and cattle ranching, providing greater food security for the region are just some of the benefits. The project also reduces greenhouse gases, mitigates climate change, and brings a world-class project with a small footprint to the island. The project also brings $43 million to the local economy over the 20 year term.
Q: Why is the Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) up for renewal?
A: The Hawi Wind Farm’s original PPA was for a term of 15 years, beginning in 2006. Because of the project’s many benefits, HECO and Hawi Wind Farm both wish to extend the project for an additional 20 years.
Q: What happens if the PPA isn’t approved?
A: One of the greatest benefits of the project to the community is the grid stability and reliability that has resulted, meaning fewer outages and interruptions. Should the PPA not be approved, that increased stability and reliability would be lost and the community would face outages. The additional benefits to the community, including the jobs and dedicated agriculture lands, would also be lost.
Q: Are you bringing in new turbines and towers?
A: No, the existing turbines, height and blades will remain the same. There will be no new turbines added. Minimal changes to the project equipment are being proposed.
Q: What will be repowered and refurbished?
A: The existing generators, gearboxes and blades will be refurbished and rehabilitated to extend useful life for an additional 20 years. New transformers will be installed at each generator, and the on-site substation will be upgraded.
Q: Will you be adding a battery?
A: No battery will be installed. HECO has an existing battery on site that they own and maintain and that will not change.
Q: What’s the environmental impact to the land and the community?
A: There’s been no known adverse environmental impact during the project’s 15 years of operation. The towers are spaced 5 rotor diameters apart from each other for safe passage of species, and the acreage supports active cattle ranching in synergy with the wind farm.