Another $1.6B offshore wind energy project planned off Hawaii’s waters

Source: By Duane Shimogawa, Pacific Business News • Posted: Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Ted Peck, who once led Hawaii’s Energy Office, along with a former First Wind executive, plans to develop a $1.6 billion offshore wind energy farm for waters off Hawaii, the development team confirmed to PBN Tuesday.

The 400-megawatt project located 10 miles southeast of Barbers Point in West Oahu mirrors another planned $1.6 billion offshore wind development by Denmark-based Alpha Wind Energy, which would also be located off Oahu waters, 17 miles south of Diamond Head and 12 miles northwest of Kaena Point. Alpha Wind’s 408-megawatt project, which would include more than 100 turbines at two sites, was first reported by PBN.

A photo of an offshore wind power generator.

A photo of an offshore wind power generator. Courtesy Alpha Wind Energy

Portland, Oregon-based Progression Energy and investors from Hawaii and beyond have formed Progression Hawaii Offshore Wind Inc. to develop the 400-megawatt project off Barbers Point. The 400 megawatts is the amount of that can be integrated into the Oahu grid and gives Progression Energy economies of scale to present a good price to the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission.

Chris Swartley, a partner of Progression Energy who has more than 15 years of renewable energy experience, including a stint with First Wind, now known as SunEdison, told PBN that they have been working on this project for the last three years.

They have conducted more than 100 meetings with over 50 stakeholders.

“I feel like we’ve met with enough folks to take the next step, which is to submit the lease to the [federal] Bureau of Ocean Energy Management with a project site,” he said. “As a team, we get the critical importance of stakeholder engagement before even submitting a lease application with BOEM. We started out with five sites, but because of the feedback we got, we are down to that one site.”

Progression Energy said it has equity backers and that it is financing the development off of its balance sheet. The company plans to submit its formal lease application with the BOEM by the end of the year.

Peck, who recently took on a new job as lead developer and CEO of Holu Energy LLC, a Honolulu-based energy systems project development company, told PBN that Holu is under contract with Progression Energy to work on the offshore wind project.