Regulators approve Maui wind energy project - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Regulators approve Maui wind energy project

MAUI (HawaiiNewsNow) -

The Hawaii Public Utilities Commission has approved a 20-year contract for Maui Electric Company to purchase 21 megawatts (MW) of wind power from Sempra Generation's Auwahi Wind project on the Ulupalakua Ranch in southeastern Maui.

The project is currently undergoing environmental review by Maui County, State of Hawaii and federal agencies.

"Approval of this contract with Maui Electric Company is a major milestone for Sempra Generation as we continue working with local communities to develop Auwahi Wind," said Jeffrey W. Martin, president and chief executive officer of Sempra Generation.

"We look forward to starting construction on this landmark wind project that will deliver a new supply of clean, renewable power to Maui residents and reduce the region's reliance on volatile sources of imported energy."

Upon approvals, the year-long construction project on Auwahi Wind is targeted to begin in early 2012.  The project will create approximately150 construction jobs five full-time positions to operate the facility.

"We welcome approval of Sempra's Auwahi project. It will help us reach Hawaii's aggressive renewable energy goals and help keep historic Ulupalakua Ranch as a vital and successful partner in the Maui community," said Ed Reinhardt, Maui Electric president.

"Sempra's addition of battery storage will help integrate energy from this new wind farm on Maui Electric's system to help meet our commitment to supply our customers with power that is both clean and reliable."

When fully operational, Auwahi Wind will be capable of generating enough emission free electricity to power the equivalent of 10,000 typical Maui homes.

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