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Fire destroys battery storage on Hawaii wind farm

UNITED STATES: A fire at First Wind's Kahaku wind project in Hawaii has destroyed a battery storage system being used on the plant.

According to Hawaii News Now, the fire started around 4.30am in the battery storage building. Honolulu's fire captain said the fire was both difficult to control and dangerous to tackle as the batteries were closely packed together.

He added this was the second fire to take place at the storage plant. An earlier one in 2011 burnt out before causing serious damage.

The 30MW project, which was built in 2010, used a storage system supplied by Xtreme Power. A similar system is used on two other First Wind projects on Hawaii.

The Kahaku project uses 12 Clipper 2.5MW Liberty turbines. In 2010, the First Wind received a $117 million loan guarantee from the Department of Energy for the project.

To help absorb the wind farm's electricity into the grid, output is smoothed to +/- 1MW per minute by rapidly storing or releasing power as needed. As a result, the project required a storage solution.

Xtreme Power designed the system and added the ability to double its storage capability in the same square footage if required.

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