by KIM HILSENBECK
Xtreme Power, headquartered in Kyle, is working with Hawaii’s First Wind to repair a 10,000 square-foot battery warehouse after a fire destroyed the facility at a wind farm on the north shore of Oahu earlier this month, according to Greg Vistica, Xtreme Power spokesperson.
The 12-turbine, 30-megawatt wind farm is augmented with a 15-megawatt battery from Xtreme Power, which sells power to the island utility HECO.
Xtreme Power provides digital power management and energy storage solutions; meaning, they help utilities store off-peak energy for on-peak use.
That same facility in Oahu has had two other fires in the past 18 months. According to Courthouse News Service, an investigation of the first two fires determined the capacitors supplied by Electronic Concepts, Inc. contained manufacturing defects that made them susceptible to combustion under ordinary use.
Xtreme Power filed a lawsuit against Dynapower Corp., the maker of specially designed inverters that contained the defective capacitors. Vistica said Xtreme Power purchased them specifically for the Kahuku wind farm project.
The lawsuit, filed before this recent fire, claims breach of implied and express warranty, negligence and breach of contract. Company officials estimate the repairs will cost millions of dollars. Vistica was not able to estimate the most recent fire damage, as the investigation was still underway.
Vistica said Xtreme Power runs similar facilities in Antarctica and Kyle; no fires have been reported at either location.
“Their track record is extremely good,” said Vistica.
According to reports in Hawaii News Now, firefighters did not enter the building in Oahu until seven hours after the flames started, reportedly because of questions regarding the toxicity of the 12,000 batteries in the warehouse.
Vistica would not comment on whether there was suspicion of arson or sabotage at the facility. He said the investigation should provide answers to some aspects of the incidents that are still in question.
The plan, according to Vistica, is to rebuild the facility in Hawaii.
Xtreme Power is currently working with Duke Energy to build a $44 million wind battery project in West Texas that will store electricity during off peak times. According to the Odessa Economic Development Corporation, this is the largest project of its kind in the world; the battery will store 36 megawatts.
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