FAIRBANKS – The developer of a wind farm in Delta Junction is continuing to push Golden Valley Electric Association to buy his power, despite continued rejection from the Interior Alaska electric utility.
Mike Craft, who created and operates the Delta Wind Farm, released a report to the public this week outlining the viability of his wind farm and attempting to discount GVEA’s arguments against buying more of his electricity.
The utility has been willing to buy back as much as 2 megawatts from his wind farm at any given time, a deal which GVEA extends to any customers who wish to sell back alternative energy.
GVEA has been paying Craft between 10.5 and 13 cents per kilowatt-hour of energy he puts back into their system.
That deal isn’t enough for Craft, who presented his paper in front of GVEA’s board of directors on Monday. Craft sent the document to board members toward the end of June.
The white paper claims energy costs in the Interior will not drop in the near future, but will continue to increase. In it, Craft emphasizes GVEA’s need for more cheap alternative energy and less reliance on some of its other main generation sources – naphtha, coal, diesel and gas.
“Everybody’s got this hopeful perspective that something’s going to happen,” Craft said. “All those things have consequences to them, and it basically comes down to they’re more expensive.”
Craft has offered to sell his wind farm’s energy to GVEA for 12.5 cents per kWh, which he believes is much cheaper than the fuel sources it would be replacing.
GVEA President Cory Borgeson said that claim is wrong. Borgeson said preliminary numbers from GVEA’s Eva Creek wind farm, which opened in late 2012, show the utility has been able to produce its own wind power for between 9 and 10 cents per kWh.
“We have proven that we’re cheaper,” Borgeson said.
The Delta wind farm provides energy at a cheaper rate than some of GVEA’s fuel sources, such as diesel, according to Craft’s report, which estimates GVEA’s delivered cost of diesel-fired power in 2013 at 35.6 cents per kWh.
The problem with attempting to replace diesel with wind power, Borgeson said, is that GVEA’s diesel generators are there to ensure the utility can provide a steady output that wind simply can’t provide.
The utility can only fill a certain portion of its portfolio with wind energy because it needs to be able to provide a reliable stream of power to customers. If the output from wind turbines drops too low with no backup the power would simply go out.
Borgeson said Craft’s report paints a dark picture of the Interior’s energy future and one with which GVEA’s leaders disagree.
“He paints a very dire picture of Fairbanks, and we disagree with that outcome,” Borgeson said. “We think we see fairly stable rates … and good opportunity for our power to stay the same for a number of years to come. We have some differences of opinion.”
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding