Hawaii’s efforts to boost renewable energy generation and reduce dependence on oil imports has received a boost from the US Department of Energy (DOE).

The DOE has finalised a $117 million loan guarantee for a 30 MW wind power project located in Kahuku, Oahu, that will meet the electricity needs of around 7700 households on the island.

The project is an important step forward in Hawaii’s Clean Energy Initiative, said Senator Daniel K. Akaka. “The Kahuku wind project will bring Hawaii 30 MW closer to energy independence,” said Akaka. “Reducing our reliance on imported oil will mean cleaner skies and more local jobs.”

The Kahuku wind power plant will use twelve 2.5 MW Liberty wind turbine generators manufactured by Clipper Windpower and a 10 MW battery energy storage system (BESS) manufactured by Xtreme Power Inc. The BESS will modulate and smooth fluctuations in power output caused by changes in wind levels.

When completed, Kahuku will produce the first-ever combined installation of Clipper wind turbines and Xtreme’s battery energy storage system.

“There is an urgent need to establish renewable energy sources in Hawaii and the state has mapped an ambitious plan to achieve this. The federal loan guarantee … boosts this effort,” said Congresswoman Mazie K. Hirono. “The Kahuku wind project is the type of project that Hawaii needs to reduce our dependence on foreign oil and keep billions of dollars in our economy.”

Hawaii’s Clean Energy Initiative has set a goal of sourcing 70 per cent of the state’s energy needs from clean sources by 2030. Some 90 per cent of Hawaii’s energy needs currently come from imported petroleum.

In addition to wind energy, the state is also planning to tap its solar, geothermal and marine energy resources.