GE Energy’s wind turbine technology has been selected for a project on the South Point of the island of Hawaii that will add 21 MW of wind-generated capacity to the state’s power grid.

GE will supply 14 of its 1.5-MW wind turbines for the Pakini Nui Wind Project, which will generate power for customers of the Hawaiian Electric Light Company (HELCO), a subsidiary of the Hawaiian Electric Company. The owner/developer, Tawhiri Power LLC, is a third-party entity created by Apollo Power Corporation, the owner of the existing Kamao’a Wind Farm at South Point.

“This project illustrates how the Big Island of Hawaii, along with other Hawaiian Islands, can serve as a laboratory for the integration of wind power into electrical grids,” said Victor Abate, vice president of renewable energy for GE Energy. “On an island with less than 300 MW of generating capacity, a 21-MW project can have a system-wide impact on grid reliability. As a result, this project will feature several of GE’s grid-friendly capabilities.” They will include:

  • WindRIDE-THRU, which allows wind turbines to remain in operation (rather than trip off line) through a 100% voltage drop. The ability to ride through a 100% voltage drop is expected to become a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission grid requirement for 2008 wind projects.
  • Ramp rate control, to regulate the pace at which wind turbines control their power output in response to changing wind speed.
  • Segmented curtailment, which prioritizes the output of the individual turbines when a utility requires a reduction in the farm’s electrical power generation.

The Pakini Nui project site, on the southern tip of the island of Hawaii, is the southernmost point in the United States. Strong prevailing eastern trade winds make this a world-class wind site.

The state of Hawaii has a Renewable Portfolio Standard requiring each utility to derive 20% of its net electricity sales from renewable energy sources by 2020. The power purchaser for this project, HELCO, already derives 29% of its power sales from wind and geothermal power.

In addition to supplying the wind turbines, GE Energy will supervise installation and perform the initial start-up of the machines. Project completion is expected by March 2007.