GE Turbines in Hawaii to Serve as Lab for Grid Integration

GE Energy will supply 14 of its 1.5-megawatt (MW) wind turbines for the Pakini Nui Wind Project on the South Point of the island of Hawaii that will add 21 MW of wind-generated capacity to the state’s power grid. The Pakini Nui project site, the southernmost point in the U.S., has strong prevailing eastern trade winds.

“This project illustrates how the Big Island of Hawaii, along with other Hawaiian Islands, can serve as a laboratory for the integration of wind power into electrical grids,” said Victor Abate, vice president of renewable energy for GE Energy. “On an island with less than 300 megawatts of generating capacity, a 21-megawatt project can have a system-wide impact on grid reliability. As a result, this project will feature several of GE’s grid-friendly capabilities.” One feature is WindRIDE-THRU, which allows wind turbines to remain in operation (rather than trip offline) through a 100 percent voltage drop. (The ability to ride through a 100 percent voltage drop is expected to become a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) grid requirement for 2008 wind projects.) A second feature is ramp rate control, which regulates the pace at which wind turbines control their power output in response to changing wind speed; and the third is segmented curtailment, which prioritizes the output of the individual turbines when a utility requires a reduction in the farm’s electrical power generation. In addition to supplying the wind turbines, GE Energy will supervise installation and perform the initial start-up of the machines. While financial terms were not disclosed, project completion is expected by March 2007. The power purchaser for this project, the Hawaiian Electric Light Company (HELCO), is a subsidiary of the Hawaiian Electric Company. HELCO already derives 29 percent of its power sales from wind and geothermal power; the state of Hawaii’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) requires each utility to derive 20 percent of its net electricity sales from renewable energy sources by 2020.
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