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San Diego-based Sempra Generation, a subsidiary of Sempra Energy, has acquired Auwahi Wind Energy LLC, a company developing a 22 MW wind energy and battery storage project in Maui, Hawaii, from Shell WindEnergy Inc., a subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell.

The proposed Auwahi Wind Energy project could begin construction in 2011 and commence commercial operations in 2012 on the Ulapalakua Ranch in the remote southeastern region of Maui, Sempra says. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Dick Williams, president of Shell WindEnergy Inc., says the company wants to focus on developing projects on the mainland U.S. and Canada. Shell currently has eight wind farms on the U.S. mainland, with a total capacity of almost 900 MW.

A component of the Maui wind power project is the development of a battery energy storage unit. The battery could store as much as 28 MWh of wind energy generated by the project's wind turbines, according to Sempra.

Sempra Generation recently submitted a proposal to the Department of Energy to co-fund costs associated with an expansion of the battery energy storage facility to 72 MWh.

The integrated wind and battery energy storage project could serve as a prototype to help maximize the energy output of other wind power projects in Hawaii and elsewhere, according to Sempra.

SOURCE: Sempra Generation

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