Hawaii Electric Utility Touts Wind Power Device

As renewable energy becomes a bigger topic in Hawaii with rising imported energy costs, the islands’ major electric utility announced notable technological progress on the wind power front.

Hawaiian Electric Company, Inc. (HECO) and S&C Electric Company held a dedication at Lalamilo Wind Farm near Waikoloa on the Big Island of Hawaii to mark the installation of a grid stabilizing device for wind farms. Called the PureWave Electronic Shock Absorber (ESA), the device can provide short-term electrical energy storage and improve voltage support and overall stability of the transmission system, according to John W. Estey, president and CEO of Chicago-based S&C Electric Company. “The wind conditions at Lalamilo are ideal location to test the first electronic shock absorber,” said Mike May, HECO president and CEO. “The PureWave ESA will demonstrate the potential for increasing the wind power that can be generated for a stand-alone electrical system as those we have on each island. Today marks a significant advance in the development of wind power.” In addition, for larger interconnected grids, the ESA has significant potential to smooth out fast changing wind power outputs, called ramp rates, says the company. Dr. Karl Stahlkopf, HECO senior vice president for energy solutions and chief technology officer invented the concept. Stahlkopf worked with teams at HECO and its subsidiaries Hawaii Electric Light Company (HELCO) and Maui Electric Company (MECO) to further develop the idea. HECO received patent approval for the device in early 2005. S&C Electric Company received exclusive rights from HECO to design, build and commercialize the ESA.
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