The wind farm mills along Ulupalakua Ranch quit working for a while today. Maui Electric Company says 19,258 customers lost power today at 12:34 p.m. for about 20 minutes when the Auwahi Wind Farm tripped offline resulting in a sudden and severe loss of wind generation on Maui Electric’s system.
The electrical system, which runs optimally at 60 hertz, dropped to about 15 hertz when 20.7 megawatts of power from Auwahi Wind went offline. The result was a brief flicker for some, a “brown out” for some and lights out for others.
As a result, MECO was forced to “load shed” customers in order to protect and stabilize Maui’s electrical grid. Presumably that means shutting down as many customers as it takes to operate efficiently for as many customers as possible until the windmills were powering again.
Customers affected included parts of Lahaina, Kihei, Kula, Pukalani, Speckelsville and Makawao to Hana. All customers were brought back online at 12:57 p.m.
No word yet on why the wind farm tripped off. The Auwahi Wind Farm is hidden from view from most areas of Maui.