Hawi was initially slated for completion late last year, but is expected online this month. "There have been a few delays," says Enxco's Tristan Grimbert. "And we've been impaired by rain and high winds in January, but there have not been any major issues. Once the production tax credit was extended there was no reason to rush."
The site, near the tiny town of Hawi, is in an area designated for wind development in the late 1970s because of its access to harbour and roads. Actual development was shelved for practical reasons. "We had to wait until the area grew to justify a project," says Robert Treiberg of IES. "There's also a tremendous amount of coordination that had to be done with the local people as well as the expense of transporting equipment. It's not like on the mainland, where you have half a dozen concrete suppliers near any site. For the most part, you've got what you've got on the island and you've got to work with that."
It all adds up to make installed costs high compared to mainland wind construction, Treiberg says. But since the Hawaiian Islands pay high utility rates overall, renewables -- mandated to reach 20% in Hawaii by 2020 -- are increasingly desirable.
The state's other new project, the 30 MW Kaheawa Wind Farm on the island of Maui (Windpower Monthly, January 2006), is expected online in April, after the Hawi project.