Companies hope to build wind farms off Hawaii coast
As Hawaii pushes to meet its aggressive renewable energy goals, two companies have proposed offshore wind turbine projects for federal waters off Oahu.
Their plan would use technology that floats the massive turbines in deep waters miles offshore. The offshore turbine proposals are in the early stages, and would face years of environmental reviews and community meetings before possible approval.
The federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, the agency that would decide whether to approve ocean leases for the projects, held a meeting about the proposals Monday.
Two companies are proposing offshore wind farms. A.W. Hawaii Wind, a Texas company that’s a subsidiary of Denmark-based Alpha Wind Energy, is proposing two offshore floating wind farms, each generating about 400 megawatts of energy with 50 turbines. One is proposed for the northwest side of Oahu 12 miles off the coast of Kaena Point, in waters about a half-mile deep. The company also is proposing a wind farm in waters 17 miles south of Diamond Head.
A second company, Progression Hawaii Offshore Wind, is proposing a 400 megawatt wind farm using 40 to 50 floating turbines off Oahu’s South Shore, in waters that are also about a half-mile deep.
Hawaii has set a goal for its utilities to use 100 percent renewable energy by the year 2045. Offshore wind farms could help the state meet that goal, said Mark Glick, energy administrator for the Hawaii State Energy Office.
“We have to figure this out together, because the low-hanging fruit has been collected, and essentially the tougher decisions are before us…the next steps are going to be crucial,” Glick said.