Right time for wind energy: Alaskan electric co-op to install state’s largest wind farm

When built, the wind farm will be Alaska’s largest. In so doing, the cooperative expects to displace some of the expensive oil it now uses to generate electricity at a pricey 18 cents per kilowatt-hour, according to an opinion article by GVEA CEO Brian Newton in the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.

It’s the "right time for wind energy," Newton says, for a variety of reasons, including the oil savings and the fact that Eva Creek penciled out as lowest cost among three proposed wind power projects. In addition, "Eva Creek makes GVEA the green power leader. We’ll meet our goal of 20 percent of peak load coming from renewable resources," and "Eva Creek is the easiest project to integrate into our system. It’s located right on the Northern Intertie [transmission line] in a remote area that won’t interfere with aircraft, recreation or wildlife."

GVEA’s project follows what has to date been a very successful effort by the Kodiak Electric Cooperative (KEC), which operates a small, isolated island utility system and installed three 1.5-MW wind turbines in 2009. During their first year and a half of operation, the turbines cut the cooperative’s use of diesel fuel for generation in half, saving more than a million gallons of fuel.

By Tom Gray, www.awea.org/blog/