Emissions, New Projects, Wind

Hawaii study evaluates potential wind farm sites

Honolulu, HI, May 23, 2003 — To help identify the best sites for future wind farms, new, high-resolution wind resource maps for Oahu, Maui, Molokai, and Lanai are now available on line at http://renewables.heco.com.

Hawaiian Electric Company, the Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism and the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) funded the project to develop maps that provide more detailed assessments of wind sites and may reveal new locations with rich wind conditions, helping to accelerate the initial stages of wind project development. Maps of Kauai and the “Big Island” of Hawaii will be completed at a later date.

“The key to maximizing power output from wind farms is locating sites with the right wind conditions,” said Karl Stahlkopf, HECO Senior Vice President for Energy Solutions & Chief Technology Officer. “Existing wind resource maps for Hawaii were developed over 20 years ago. New methods, based on dynamic numerical simulation models, have since been made available.”

The new maps provide estimated wind speeds at heights of 30, 50, 70, and 100 meters as well as wind power densities at 50 meters. The maps include basic overlays of significant features such as cities, parks, roads, and other features. In addition, the maps provide wind data over the ocean around Oahu to facilitate the evaluation of offshore wind development.

The maps are being validated by a local meteorologist and by NREL. Detailed meteorological monitoring at a potential wind site still needs to be collected for wind project financing.