Ground broken on wind farm to power county wells

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Hawaii County and the Department of Water Supply held a groundbreaking event for the construction of a wind farm in South Kohala on Wednesday morning. The project will consist of five wind turbines that will altogether generate 3.3 megawatts.

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Hawaii County and the Department of Water Supply held a groundbreaking event for the construction of a wind farm in South Kohala on Wednesday morning. The project will consist of five wind turbines that will altogether generate 3.3 megawatts.

Construction of the new facility will create about 50 temporary construction jobs, and about three permanent positions to operate the wind farm, according to the DWS. Construction is estimated to be complete in approximately one year, with commercial operation is expected to begin the latter part of 2016.

The completed wind farm will provide a less expensive renewable energy source for the DWS wells in the area which serve an average 5.1 million gallons per day to residential, resort, park, industrial and commercial areas from Mauna Lani Resort to Kawaihae. To maximize the use of renewable energy, controls will be installed to coordinate DWS operations with the wind generated energy production.

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The DWS awarded Lalamilo Wind Co. LLC the project and executed a power purchase agreement that includes a contract energy amount of 7,620 megawatt-hours per year to be supplied to the DWS.

The current energy demand is approximately 11,000 megawatt-hours per year with an annual electrical cost of $4.1 million. The Lalamilo wind farm is expected to save $1 million per year in energy costs over the next 20 years.