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News Release NR-0608

NREL Enters Wind Energy Research Partnership in Hawaii

April 1, 2008

The U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has signed a memorandum of understanding with UPC Wind to establish a Remote Research Affiliate Partner Site at UPC Wind’s Kaheawa Wind Farm on Maui.  It is the first such partner site for the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s wind technology program outside of its base in Colorado. Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle announced the collaborative public-private partnership to establish a wind technology program on March 31 in Honolulu.

This latest partnership expands on the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative between the State of Hawaii and the U.S. Department of Energy that started in January and aims to have 70 percent of Hawaii’s energy come from clean, renewable sources by 2030.

The Maui partner site will conduct research and development on advanced wind energy technologies, including operational and control studies, energy storage options and integration of renewable electricity into existing grids.  The research’s goal is to help maximize the integration of wind into Hawaii's utility system so that this renewable resource can compete with traditional energy sources, providing a clean, renewable alternative for Hawaii’s and the nation’s energy needs.

“The establishment of a partner site of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory on Maui recognizes our islands’ abundant renewable resources, and the advancements we are making to transform Hawaii into one of the world’s first economies based primarily on clean energy resources,” said Gov. Lingle.  “This partnership will provide Hawaii with invaluable technical assistance, access to leading-edge research, and relationships with additional national partners as we seek to develop innovative approaches to increase our energy independence and reduce our reliance on imported fossil fuels,” the governor added.

"The U.S. Department of Energy is pleased to commit the expertise of its National Renewable Energy Laboratory to help harness Hawaii’s unique abundance of natural resources and showcase the broad benefits of renewable energy technologies and alternative fuels at  work on an unprecedented scale," DOE Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Andy Karsner said.  “We look forward to further public-private partnerships that will advance the goals of the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative and serve as an example to be replicated in the United States and other island communities around the world.”

“This is the first presence for the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s wind technology program outside of its base in Colorado,” said NREL Director Dan Arvizu who was in Hawaii to sign the agreement and inspect the new Maui site.  “NREL recognizes the potential in Hawaii both to deploy wind technologies to meet our energy needs and to use successes here as models for other states and regions.”

Wind energy is one of many renewable resources and technologies being built into the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative.

“Our Kaheawa Wind Farm is an ideal site to aggressively explore what can be done to reduce Hawaii’s dependence on imported oil,” said Paul Gaynor, president and CEO of UPC Wind Partners, LLC.  “Gov. Lingle has made a concerted effort to encourage wind power development in Hawaii, as the state seeks to grow its energy independence. We’re looking forward to participating in this partnership to help develop new technologies that can grow the wind industry as the leading provider of renewable power in the country.”

“For Hawaii to achieve the bold 70 percent clean energy target in one generation, partnerships between the public and private sectors; among federal, state and local government entities and between research institutions and industry will be critical,” the governor said. “It will require a fundamental transformation in how Hawaii generates, transmits and uses energy.”

The four Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative technical working groups that are focusing on this transformation have recently completed their first round of work.  This work focused on identifying barriers to the rapid adoption of clean energy in areas of electricity generation; transmission and distribution; end-user efficiency; and transportation, including biofuels and advanced transportation technologies.

NREL is the U.S. Department of Energy's primary national laboratory for renewable energy and energy efficiency research and development. NREL operates the nation’s premier wind energy technology research facility at the base of the foothills just south of Boulder, Colo. NREL is operated for DOE by Midwest Research Institute and Battelle.

 

For further information contact NREL Public Relations at 303-275-4090.
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