Wind farm breaks ground - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Wind farm breaks ground

Groundbreaking for the Kahuku wind farm Groundbreaking for the Kahuku wind farm
Paul Gaynor Paul Gaynor
Wren Wescoatt Wren Wescoatt
Kahea Hart Kahea Hart
Wind turbines similar to ones headed for Kahuku Wind turbines similar to ones headed for Kahuku

By Jim Mendoza - bio | email 

KAHUKU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A groundbreaking signaled the start of a new type of farm in Kahuku -- a wind farm.

Over the next six months Boston company First Wind will put up twelve wind turbines on a 575-acre site.

They'll be just like the ones First Wind operates at its wind farm in Maui.

"They are big structures.  From foundation to blade tip it's over 400 feet," CEO Paul Gaynor said.

The turbines will pump out 30 megawatts of power and feed it into Hawaiian Electric Company's power grid. That's enough juice to light 7,700 homes.

"This transmission line has been here for years," First Wind development specialist Wren Wescoatt said. "We're just tapping into that transmission line to generate the power and send it throughout Oahu."

HECO will pay nineteen cents per kilowatt hour for the clean energy from the Kahuku Wind project.

Customers won't see a difference on their bill but the state will cut back on the cost of importing 156,000 barrels of oil a year.

"I wish it would bring my bill down. But if it's going to work greener, working off the environment, why not?" North Shore resident Kahea Hart said.

First Wind will spend $130 million to plant the wind farm. The building phase will employ about 200 construction workers. The turbines are coming in piece by piece and they're state-of-the-art.

"They will rotate 360 degrees to point into the wind. So at times all twelve turbines may not be pointing in the same direction. Individually, they'll adjust for the best wind," Wescoatt said.

Gaynor said First Wind sought approval from community groups and addressed environmental and cultural concerns.

By January, 2011, a dozen turbines will be turning on Kahuku's foothills, putting wind to work.

More about this story on HawaiiNewsNow.com:

A new wind energy farm is coming to Oahu's North Shore

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