Self-sustaining power

KAUAI — The Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas on Kauai announced the completion of a multimillion-dollar project to install a cogeneration plant and reduce its carbon footprint in the Hawaiian Islands. 

The cogen plant will generate electricity and steam for the 18.5-acre Kauai hotel, powering the resort’s eight buildings, heating water in guest villas as well as the resort’s four pools and three whirlpools. It is the first instance in the Hawaiian Islands where a cogen system has the capacity to generate up to 100 percent of a resort’s energy needs, it said in a press release.

Kauai’s primary source of electrical generation is fueled by imported diesel, and combined with the islands’ remote geographic location, Kauai has the highest energy costs in the nation. The Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas, with 346 villa accommodations, is among the largest resorts on the island and thus one of the largest consumers of energy.

“We recognize that the vitality of the resort is directly linked to the vitality of the community where it operates,” said Denise Wardlow, general manager. “In addition to doing the right thing for the environment, The Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas is proud of the economic benefits that our project provided to Kauai’s local contractors and vendors.”

The resort’s new system is known as a combined cooling, heat and power (CCHP) system, which utilizes five highly efficient capstone turbine generators for a total capacity of 1 megawatt. The system captures the byproduct of heat energy through a large heat exchanger that is tied to a closed loop hot water recirculation system, which pipes water to an absorption chiller. In lieu of using electrical energy, the chiller uses heat energy to produce chilled water for air conditioning the resort’s two-story clubhouse. The hot water is then pumped through a series of smaller heat exchangers that provide the heat source for all of the resort’s pool and domestic hot water needs.

On a day-to-day basis, the cogen plant will power about 90 percent of the resort’s electrical consumption and 100 percent of the resort’s heat consumption in all guest villas, pools and whirlpools. It is anticipated that there will be a 50 percent decrease in energy expenses, generating cleaner energy and the capacity to sustain 100 percent of the energy required at the resort.

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