FAIRBANKS—The Regulatory Commission of Alaska has rejected a complaint against Golden Valley Electric Association that accused the Interior utility of unfairly spurning a proposal for a large wind-power facility.
Alaska Environmental Power filed the complaint in August, saying the utility hadn’t seriously considered its proposal for the 25-megawatt Delta Wind Farm project. Owner Mike Craft has pitched the idea for a large Delta-based wind farm for years but said GVEA “presented terms so unreasonable that it was essentially just another way of turning us down.”
Craft said in the complaint that GVEA was “violating its legal duty to open its transmission system to small and independent producers of renewable energy.”
In a letter outlining the RCA decision, Consumer Protection and Information Officer Rodney J. Crum disagreed.
Crum concluded that GVEA had “adequately responded” to the issue and that the commission “found no violation of statutes, regulations or GVEA’s tariff provisions.” He also ruled the issue is outside the agency’s jurisdiction.
In a statement, GVEA President and CEO Cory Borgeson said the decision confirmed GVEA has treated the wind farm proposal fairly. He said the utility has spent “thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours evaluating the proposal” before negotiations ended in July.
Delta Wind Farm currently sells about 2 megawatts of electricity to GVEA but has proposed building a much larger project to sell electricity to the utility. In 2011, the GVEA board of directors endorsed its own project near Healy, the Eva Creek wind farm, bypassing Craft’s project and another turbine farm near Anchorage.
In the years since, Craft has worked to convince GVEA to use his expanded wind farm as a complement to the 25-megawatt Eva Creek project. GVEA officials have said the fluctuating nature of wind power limits the amount that it can integrate into its system.
Borgeson said in a statement that the co-op is concerned the added wind power would raise its rates.
“We want more wind power but only if it doesn’t lower our reliability or raise our members’ rates,” Borgeson said.
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