The announcement on May 17 of the Auwahi Wind farm in Hawaii, will mark the fifth project developed jointly between BP (IW 1000/3) and its partner Sempra US Gas & Power. Together the two companies have more than 1,000 megawatts (MW) of wind generating capacity in operation or under construction.
Located in southeastern Maui, the 21-MW wind farm will utilize eight Siemens wind turbines to generate enough renewable power for approximately 10,000 average Maui homes.
The project will employ about 150 workers during the peak of construction and is expected to be in commercial operation by year-end 2012.
The balance of plant contract has been awarded to RMT WindConnect. Sempra U.S. Gas & Power will continue leading the development of Auwahi Wind and operate the project once construction is complete. Sempra is a developer of renewable energy and natural gas solutions. Sempra operates solar, wind and natural gas power plants that generate enough electricity for nearly 1 million homes, along with natural gas storage and pipelines, and distribution utilities.
"Our companies share a commitment to building and operating the Auwahi Wind farm in a way that reflects Maui's commitment to environmental protection," said Jim Sahagian, vice president of renewables for Sempra U.S. Gas & Power. We look forward to providing a stable supply of clean power to the region and becoming a long-term partner with the local community."
The entire power output from the wind farm has been sold under a long-term power purchase agreement to the Maui Electric Company. This new source of locally-produced wind power helps Hawaii reach its clean energy goal to secure 40% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030.
In a first for the BP and Sempra U.S. Gas and Power strategic partnership, the Auwahi Wind farm will utilize a battery storage unit capable of storing in excess of 4 megawatt hours of renewable power. This stored electricity will help to regulate the intermittent wind power, providing a valuable source of grid stability for Maui Electric Co.
"Today marks an important milestone as this is BPs first venture in delivering clean energy to the people of Hawaii," said John Graham, CEO, BP Wind Energy.
In January 2012, BP and Sempra U.S. Gas & Power announced an expansion of their strategic relationship by jointly investing more than $1 billion to build 560 MW of wind power. In Kansas, the companies are building the 419 MW Flat Ridge 2 Wind Farm and are finalizing joint venture agreements for a 51 MW expansion project. In Pennsylvania, the 141 MW Mehoopany Wind Farm is in construction. Both the Kansas and Pennsylvania wind farms are expected to be in commercial operation by year-end 2012 and will be the largest wind projects ever constructed in their respective states. The companies are also equal partners on the 200 MW Fowler Ridge 2 Wind Farm in Indiana and the 250 MW Cedar Creek 2 Wind Farm located in northeastern Colorado.