SAN DIEGO AND HONOLULU, June 16, 2011 – The Hawaii Public Utilities Commission has approved a 20-year contract for Maui Electric Company to purchase 21 megawatts (MW) of wind power from Sempra Generation’s Auwahi Wind project on the Ulupalakua Ranch in southeastern Maui.
The project is currently undergoing environmental review by Maui County, State of Hawaii and federal agencies. Upon approvals, construction on Auwahi Wind is targeted to begin in early 2012. Construction is expected to take about one year, creating approximately 150 construction jobs at peak and five full-time positions to operate the facility.
“Approval of this contract with Maui Electric Company is a major milestone for Sempra Generation as we continue working with local communities to develop Auwahi Wind,” said Jeffrey W. Martin, president and chief executive officer of Sempra Generation. “We look forward to starting construction on this landmark wind project that will deliver a new supply of clean, renewable power to Maui residents and reduce the region’s reliance on volatile sources of imported energy.”
“We welcome approval of Sempra’s Auwahi project. It will help us reach Hawaii’s aggressive renewable energy goals and help keep historic Ulupalakua Ranch as a vital and successful partner in the Maui community,” said Ed Reinhardt, Maui Electric president. “Sempra’s addition of battery storage will help integrate energy from this new wind farm on Maui Electric’s system to help meet our commitment to supply our customers with power that is both clean and reliable.”
“This new wind farm will join existing wind power, biomass and biofuel, customer-sited solar, hydro and in the future we hope ocean energy to supply Maui with one of the highest percentages of renewable energy in Hawaii and the world,” Reinhardt said.
When fully operational, Auwahi Wind will be capable of generating enough emission-free electricity to power the equivalent of 10,000 typical Maui homes. This new source of locally-produced wind energy will help Hawaii reach its clean energy goal of obtaining 40 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030.
An important component of Auwahi Wind is a battery storage unit capable of storing electricity generated by the project’s wind turbines during the typically windy morning and night hours. This stored power will help to regulate and smooth intermittent wind power, providing a valuable source of grid stability for Maui Electric.
About Sempra Generation
Sempra Generation operates and maintains a fleet of natural gas-fueled power plants, and is a leading developer of solar and wind facilities that serve U.S. markets. Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE), based in San Diego, is a Fortune 500 energy services holding company with 2010 revenues of $9 billion. The Sempra Energy companies’ nearly 16,000 employees serve about 25 million consumers worldwide.
About Maui Electric Company
Maui Electric Company is an investor-owned, publicly regulated utility serving residents and businesses on the islands of Maui, Lanai and Molokai in the state of Hawaii. It is owned by Hawaiian Electric Company, which is a subsidiary of Hawaiian Electric Industries
(NYSE: HE). With 90 years of service, MECO is committed to working toward a renewable energy future and continuing to provide reliable electric service to the people of Maui County.
This press release contains statements that are not historical fact and constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements can be identified by words like "believes," "expects," "anticipates," "intends," "plans," "estimates," "may,""will," "would," "could," "should," "potential," "target," "depends," or similar expressions, or discussions of strategies, plans or intentions. Forward-looking statements are not guarantees of performance. They involve risks, uncertainties and assumptions. Future results may differ materially from those expressed in the forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are necessarily based upon various assumptions involving judgments with respect to the future and other risks, including, among others: local, regional, national and international economic, competitive, political, legislative and regulatory conditions and developments; actions by the California Public Utilities Commission, California State Legislature, California Department of Water Resources, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Federal Reserve Board, and other regulatory and governmental bodies in the United States and other countries where the company does business; capital market conditions and inflation, interest and exchange rates; energy markets, including the timing and extent of changes and volatility in commodity prices; the availability of electric power, natural gas and liquefied natural gas; weather conditions and conservation efforts; war and terrorist attacks; business, regulatory, environmental and legal decisions and requirements; the status of deregulation of retail natural gas and electricity delivery; the timing and success of business development efforts; the resolution of litigation; and other uncertainties, all of which are difficult to predict and many of which are beyond the control of the company. These risks and uncertainties are further discussed in the reports that Sempra Energy has filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. These reports are available through the EDGAR system free-of-charge on the SEC’s website, www.sec.gov, and on the company’s website at www.sempra.com.
Sempra Generation is not the same company as the utility, San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) or Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas), and Sempra Generation is not regulated by the California Public Utilities Commission.
For further information: Media Contact: Scott Crider, Sempra Generation, (877) 855-7887, www.semprageneration.com,
Financial Contact:ScottTomayko/Victor Vilaplana, Sempra Energy, (877) 736-7727, firstname.lastname@example.org, Media Contact:Kaui Awai-Dickson, Maui Electric Company, 808-872-3263, email@example.com, Financial Contact:Shelee Kimura, Hawaiian Electric Industries, 808-543-7384, firstname.lastname@example.org