Kodiak Electric Association’s Pillar Mountain wind generation project is now $1 million closer to a $14 million renewable energy project to offset diesel fuel consumption in Kodiak.
Gov. Sarah Palin recently signed a bill in the 2008 state capital budget to assist KEA in offsetting a portion of the costs for the Pillar Mountain wind project.
Sen. Gary Stevens and Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux helped push the appropriation through as part of a program to lower costs and reduce emissions in Kodiak.
“It will also benefit other utilities in the state by helping to pave the way to install and operate utility-size wind turbines in Alaska,” Darron Scott, KEA president and chief executive officer, said.
Alice Job, KEA manager of finance and administration, said today the $1 million brings the total funding now available to the utility for the wind project to $8 million.
She said the $1 million grant means KEA will not have to get a loan and will save on interest.
Job said KEA has locked in $7 million through the Internal Revenue Service for the $7 million Clean Renewable Energy Bond, approved Nov. 28, as part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005.
About $300 million of the omnibus Energy Policy Act, a multibillion-dollar program, was set aside for renewable energy projects such as KEA’s wind-generation program.
CREB allows KEA to finance $7 million by borrowing tax-exempt government bonds at about 1 percent interest, down from about 5 to 7 percent interest.
KEA cooperative customers stand to save about $300,000 in the first year of wind-generated electricity and about $3 million over the life of the project.
KEA is planning site work next summer in preparation to install the wind turbines in the summer of 2009.
KEA is presently working on final details for the purchase of two 1.5-megawatt wind turbines.
At the hub, the turbines will be either 65 or 80 meters off the ground, with blades 38 meters long.
KEA plans to begin erecting the towers on Pillar Mountain in 2008.
Once in place, the towers will be able to harness wind speeds of up to 110 mph, but wind speeds above 45 mph do not produce power. Usable wind on Pillar averages about 16 mph.
Because wind fluctuates from second to second at different rates, KEA is developing a system that will allow efficient use.
The wind turbine towers produce from 3 to 5 megawatts or 600 kilowatts apiece. One thousand kilowatts equals one megawatt.
The cost of a wind-generated kilowatt-hour is from 7 to 8 cents, compared to 18 cents per hour from diesel fuel.
The wind generation system will generate from 10 to 15 percent of KEA total power, with Terror Lake producing about 85 percent.
A 3 1/2-megawatt plant generates 11 million kilowatt hours a year. That equates to about $750,000 annually for 1 million gallons of diesel fuel.
By Bryan Martin
24 July 2007
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