A U.S. based, wind-energy company announced it has obtained $236 million in financing for its 69 MW Kawailoa Wind project on Kamehameha Schools’ Kawailoa Plantation lands on Oahu’s North Shore. A subsidiary of developer First Wind closed a $220 million non-recourse construction and term loan and $16 million in letters of credit for the Kawailoa project. Union Bank served as Administrative Agent and Joint Lead Arranger. Other Joint Lead Arrangers include Bayern LB, Rabobank and Siemens Financial Services. CIBC, and CoBank also participated in the financing.
Early construction work began on the project in December of 2011 and has progressed steadily. The project is expected to complete by end of 2012. Major construction work, including delivery and erection of turbines, is expected to begin in the summer of 2012.
Once complete, Kawailoa Wind will be the largest wind energy facility in Hawaii. The project’s thirty 2.3-MW Siemens wind turbines will have capacity to generate as much as five percent of Oahu’s annual electrical demand.
“This financing is an important milestone for the construction of Kawailoa Wind,” said Paul Gaynor, CEO of First Wind. “Hawaii has a genuine commitment to having more renewable energy on the islands, and these banks recognize that this project will be an important component toward reaching that goal. We appreciate the commitment of our financial partners, which will help First Wind deliver clean, renewable energy for the benefit of Oahu residents and businesses.”
“The Kawailoa Project will play an important role in Hawaii’s increasing energy independence and is yet another example of First Wind’s ability to develop innovative projects,” said Lance Markowitz, Senior Vice President at Union Bank.
In December 2011, the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission approved a power purchase agreement between Kawailoa Wind and the Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO), which serves more than 400,000 Hawaii customers. Hawaii state law mandates 70% clean energy for electricity and surface transportation by 2030, with 40% coming from local renewable sources. Kawailoa Wind will significantly advance the state’s progress toward these goals.
Kahuku Wind, also located on Oahu’s North Shore, is a 30 MW wind project that has the capacity to generate enough energy to the power the equivalent of 7,700 Oahu homes. The Kahuku project went online in March of 2011. Beginning commercial operations in 2006, the 30 MW Kaheawa Wind project is above Ma‘alaea. First Wind is currently building a second Maui project, Kaheawa Wind II that will consist of 14 wind turbines, capable of generating 21 MW of energy. Once Kaheawa Wind II is complete, the two Kaheawa projects will have a capacity of 51 MW.