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Energy giants BP and Sempra U.S. Gas & Power are teaming up to co-develop a new wind farm project in Hawaii. The Auwahi Wind farm will cover 1,466 acres of the 20,000 acre Ulupalakua Ranch, Maui’s second-largest cattle farm. Construction has already started on the $140 million facility, after a 25-year operational permit for the project was granted to Auwahi Wind Energy late last year.

The new wind farm will consist of eight 428-foot-tall Siemens wind turbines, a battery storage unit with the capacity to store 4 megawatt hours of energy when winds are intermittant, and a 9-mile 34.5-kilovolt power line for transmitting power. The Maui Electric Company will purchase the 21 megawatts of power generated by the turbines when at full capacity, providing clean electricity for over 10,000 average-sized Maui homes. It is expected to be operational by the end of 2012, moving Hawaii one step closer to meeting its goal of generating 40 percent of its energy needs from renewable sources by 2030.

The Auwahi Wind farm joins numerous other wind projects in Hawaii, including the 30 MW Kaheawa farm on Maui, the 20.5 MW Pakini Nui farm on the big island, the 30 MW Kahuku farm on Oahu, and the proposed 69 MW Kawailoa farm, also on the island of Oahu. In addition to its broad implementation of wind energy technology, Hawaii is making large investments in solar as well. Recently, both the Hawaiian Electric Company and the Maui Electric Company were deemed to be among the nation’s top utility companies for solar power, obviously taking full advantage of all that Hawaiin sunshine.

This is the fifth renewable-energy project developed through a partnership between BP and Sempra U.S. The companies have previously worked together on wind projects in Kansas, Pennsylvania, Indiana, and Colorado.

[via PR Newswire]