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Wind energy development a mixed bag for Oahu

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Electricity from the state’s largest wind energy project — Kawailoa Wind — has begun flowing into the Hawaiian Electric Co. grid on Oahu.

At the same time the company that developed the island’s first commercial-scale wind energy project on Oahu is continuing to repair damage from a battery fire that could keep the facility offline for another year.

The 69-megawatt Kawailoa Wind project located northeast of Haleiwa was placed into service on Nov. 2 with the capability of providing the energy needs of about 14,500 Oahu homes over the course of a year. The Kawailoa project does not include a battery system.

Kawailoa, developed by Boston-based First Wind LLC, is the second wind energy project on Oahu. The first project, a 30-megawatt facility in Kahuku also developed by First Wind, has been idle since the Aug. 1 battery fire.

First Wind will spend an estimated $8.1 million to make repairs as a result of the fire, according to an update HECO filed with the Public Utilities Commission on Nov. 13.  The repairs are scheduled to  be completed by late 2013, according to HECO.

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