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Firefighters monitoring possible battery room fire at Kahuku wind farm

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 7:18 a.m. HST, Apr 23, 2011

Firefighters monitored a possible fire in the battery room of a new wind farm in Kahuku Friday night.

Company workers saw smoke coming out of the battery room, a single-story building roughly 2,500 square feet in size, about 5:45 p.m.

Some 20 firefighters responded and requested the help of Hawaiian Electric Co., which has equipment for larger electrical fires, fire Capt. Terry Seelig said.

Firefighters planned to de-energize the facility and monitor the situation before taking action to minimize damage to the equipment and avoid placing firefighters in unnecessary harm.

"There's smoke coming out of there," Seelig said. "It doesn't appear to be a fast-developing fire."

No one was inside the building, Seelig said.

First Wind dedicated the 30-megawatt facility, the island's first large-scale wind farm, last month. The farm has a 15-megawatt battery energy storage system that smooths out drops in power output caused by changes in the wind.

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