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AVEC looking for a new wind turbine site after FAA scraps utility’s plans

Just because you held a public meeting about it doesn’t mean it’s going to happen. That’s what AVEC, the Alaska Village Electric Cooperative, found out Friday when the Federal Aviation Administration called and said their plan to build a wind turbine off Bethel’s BIA road was a no-go.

In an email to KYUK, AVEC wrote that the non-profit utility will not be allowed to erect a 350-foot wind turbine off of BIA road because of “navigational air space conditions.”

Their plan was to build a gravel road to the site and pour a concrete pad, then erect the wind turbine next year. AVEC had already tested the wind power at that site.

AVEC is back out looking for a new site and says that the process will likely take a few months. The utility held a community event in Bethel on Wednesday informing the public about the upcoming project, but now those plans have had to be scrapped.

The 900 kilowatt turbine would have produced about 6 percent of the annual electricity demand for Bethel, Napakiak, and Oscarville. That demand will increase when the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation expansion project is completed.