Wind power in Hawaii

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Kaheawa Wind Power

Wind power in Hawaii has the potential to provide all of the electricity generation in the electricity sector in Hawaii.[citation needed] The 132 commercial wind turbines in the state have a total capacity of 236 MW. In 2015, wind turbines produced 6.4% of Hawaii's electricity.[1]: 2 [2] In 2012, Hawaii generated 367 million kWh from wind power.[3]

Hawaii began research into wind power in the mid-1980s with a 340 kW turbine on Maui, and the 2.3MW Lalamilo Wells wind farm on Oahu and the 9MW Kamaoa wind farm on the Big Island of Hawaii .[4] The MOD-5B, a 3.2MW wind turbine, on Oahu was the largest in the world in 1987. These early examples were all out of service by 2010.

Notable projects[edit]

Hawaii's sources of electricity in 2017


Wind power in Hawaii
Name Location Coordinates Capacity
Number of
Auwahi Wind Energy Hybrid Maui County 24 8 2012
Hawi Wind Farm Hawaii County 10.6 16 2006
Kaheawa Wind Power Maui County 30 20 2006
Kaheawa Wind Power II Maui County 21 14 2012
Kahuku Wind Power Honolulu County 30 12 2011
Kawailoa Wind Honolulu County 69 30 2012
Pakini Nui Wind Farm Hawaii County 21 14 2007
Lalamilo Wells Hawaii County 3.3 5 2017 [5]

Proposed wind farms[edit]

Two developers have submitted proposals for three offshore wind farms.[6] They are under review by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.[7]

Former wind farms[edit]

  • Kamaoa Wind Farm, 9.3 MW, in use 1987-2006
  • Lalamilo Wind Farm, 2.3 MW, in use 1986-2010. Repowered by a new farm at the site in 2017.

Community reactions[edit]

In 2019 Kahuku residents protested the placement of wind towers, leading to hundreds of arrests for obstructing entry of equipment to the turbine sites. In 2021 residents and the Kahuku Community Association objected to the presence of 20 large-scale wind turbines in their neighborhood. They experienced problems from the noise and shadows that come and go with the turning of the blades, claiming that this produced sleep disruption, depression, seizures and other neurological effects. In response, rules that govern turbine siting, such as increasing the minimum distance from residences to 1.25 miles, are under review by the Honolulu City Council. Existing law allows an, e.g., 600 ft (180 m) to be placed 600 feet from the nearest house (1:1).The Hawaii State Energy Office offered support for a setback of a mile or more from homes and structures. Residents also expressed concern about the threat to endangered wildlife, particularly the opeapea bat.[8]


Hawaii Wind Generation Capacity by Year
Megawatts of Installed Generating Capacity[9][10]
Hawaii wind resources

Hawaii has the potential to install 3,000 MW of wind power, capable of generating 12,000 GWh/year with 80 meter hub heights operating at 30% capacity factor or more.[11] Hawaii used 9,962 GWh in 2011, so Hawaii has the potential to generate all electricity used in the state from wind and solar power.[12] In addition, Hawaii has the potential to generate 2,800,000 GWh/year from offshore wind power.[13] Authorities approved feasibility in 2016 for 3 companies looking at floating wind turbines up to 400 MW.[14][15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Hawaii - State Energy Profile Overview - U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA)". Retrieved April 13, 2019.
  2. ^ "2017 Energy Facts and Figures" (PDF). June 2018.
  3. ^ Electric Power Monthly February 2013 Table 1.17.B.
  4. ^ Wind Energy, Hawaiian Electric Company, 2013
  5. ^ "California company plans to build $13M wind farm on Hawaii's Big Island". Retrieved March 11, 2022.
  6. ^ Richards, Heather (April 6, 2021). "Hawaii NIMBY fight reveals Biden offshore wind challenge". E&E News. Retrieved March 11, 2022.
  7. ^ "Offshore Wind Energy Bill Sails Through Hawaii Senate". Honolulu Civil Beat. March 10, 2022. Retrieved March 11, 2022.
  8. ^ Downey, Kirstin (September 21, 2022). "The Struggle Over Towering Wind Farms Is At The Center Of A Honolulu City Council Debate". Honolulu Civil Beat. Retrieved September 21, 2022.
  9. ^ "Wind Powering America: Installed U.S. Wind Capacity and Wind Project Locations". U.S. Department of Energy. 2017. Retrieved March 11, 2017.
  10. ^ "WINDExchange: U.S. Installed and Potential Wind Power Capacity and Generation".
  11. ^ National Renewable Energy Laboratory (February 4, 2010). "State wind energy potential (2010) spreadsheet". U.S. Department of Energy. Retrieved November 14, 2012.
  12. ^ Electric Power Monthly February 2012 Table 5.4.B.
  13. ^ "Renewable Energy Technical Potential | Geospatial Data Science | NREL". Retrieved June 9, 2018.
  14. ^ "Statoil floats Hawaii offshore bid". reNEWS - Renewable Energy News. October 6, 2016. Retrieved June 9, 2018.
  15. ^ "WINDExchange: Wind Energy in Hawaii".

External links[edit]