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

Golden Valley Electric Association (GVEA), a rural electric cooperative serving the interior of Alaska, recently approved the proposed 24-MW Eva Creek wind project. 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,” 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 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.

More reading:

Kodiak utility diesel savings pass 1 million gallons, November 16, 2010
Alaska wind project is a mythbuster, September 28, 2010

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