By Pacific Business News (Honolulu)

First Wind has received a $117 million loan guarantee from the Department of Energy for its Kahuku Wind Power project on the north shore of Oahu.

The 30-megawatt wind power plant, which began construction earlier this month, will consist of 12 wind turbines expected to generate enough power for 7,700 homes a year.

The loan guarantee has helped Boston-based First Wind secure the necessary financing for the project, according to CEO Paul Gaynor.

RMT Inc., an energy and environmental company, was selected by First Wind to construct its wind-energy facility at a total cost of $151.5 million. First Windâ¿¿s $117 million loan guarantee is part of stimulus funding provided by the Department of the Treasury.

The project includes a battery-energy storage system that will help smooth fluctuations in wind energy output â¿¿ an important component for Hawaiian Electric Co., which is concerned about ensuring the reliability of the electric grid.

⿿This is the first energy agreement (for an intermittent source) since we signed the Clean Energy Initiative,⿝ Peter Rosegg, head of corporate communications for HECO, said of the utility-scale project. ⿿And we hope it is the first of many.⿝

The project will further Hawaiiâ¿¿s goal of reaching 70 percent clean energy by 2030.

⿿The Kahuku wind project will bring Hawaii 30-megawatts closer to energy independence,⿝ said Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii, in a prepared statement. ⿿Reducing our reliance on imported oil will mean cleaner skies and more local jobs. This project is an important step forward.⿝

The Department of Energyâ¿¿s Loan Programs office has provided loan guarantees in support of 13 clean energy projects nationwide, totaling more than $14 billion, of which $4 billion has gone in support of renewable energy projects.

Copyright 2010 American City Business Journals

Copyright 2010