From The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Sunday, September 26, 2010:
A Fairbanks developer said Tuesday he hopes he can build a 25-megawatt wind farm near Delta Junction despite limited avenues for public aid.
Mike Craft said his firm, Alaska Environmental Power, is working with Golden Valley Electric Association to study how to best feed wind power into Interior Alaska’s transmission grid.
The work parallels planning by Golden Valley for a separate wind farm near Healy.
Craft told a chamber of commerce audience Tuesday he hopes the integration studies will lead to power-sale agreements between his firm and the utility. He said Golden Valley previously agreed to a smaller, pilot sale agreement following construction of two smaller turbines at the Delta site.
“(It) made it possible for us to come on line with these two turbines. That helped us a lot,” Craft said. He said the turbines, the largest built with state aid, have produced 134,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity.
Craft, a builder and residential developer, started looking to enter the wind power business roughly three years ago. He approached public officials last winter for help with his project and received lukewarm responses but said Tuesday he chose to continue and hopes to install 16 GE turbines near Delta.
From The Associated Press, Friday, September 17, 2010:
A University of Alaska group will receive $3 million to study options to optimize wind-diesel hybrid energy systems in rural Alaska.
The Alaska Center for Energy and Power, based at UA Fairbanks, was awarded the grant by the federal Department of Energy.
The university says Alaska already has systems pairing wind turbines with diesel power plants but many are not performing as designed due to extreme weather and remote, distributed grid systems.
Research paid for by the grant will investigate technical issues related to power stability, long-term energy storage and control systems to better use fluctuating wind power.
Research also will investigate turbine performance in cold climates and remote locations and challenges such as icing, foundations in poor soils and remote monitoring.
From The Tundra Drums, Wednesday, September 15, 2010:
WindPower Innovations Inc., a wind power infrastructure and smart grid solutions company (PINK SHEETS:WPNV), announced talks with Alaska Villages Electric Co-op (AVEC), a non-profit electric utility, owned by the people served in 53 villages throughout interior and western Alaska, and is the largest service area of any retail electric cooperative in the world.
News of the talks arrived in a written statement from WindPower.
“We are in the second round of talks with AVEC to enhance the efficiency of their 250-500 kW wind turbines with our system optimization and grid-tie solutions,” says John Myers, president and CEO of WindPower Innovations. “Alaska represents a marketplace in the hundreds of millions and soon to be over a billion dollars for wind and other alternative energy sources, and the adaptability of WindPower Innovations’ technology allows us to capitalize on opportunities in extreme and remote environments where others can’t. We will be able to provide AVEC with solutions that help them break through barriers in efficiency and help solve the challenges faced by Alaska’s extremes in climate, geography and distance.”
AVEC is in the process of upgrading and increasing the operating efficiency of its power plant facilities and distribution lines, along with expanding its wind power segment, continuing to move away from costly diesel-generated power.
Continue reading: Wind power company in ‘talks’ with AVEC
From The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Saturday, September 11, 2010:
Gov. Sean Parnell says that if Alaska is to meet the ambitious goal of getting half of its electricity from renewable sources some day, it will have to make a major commitment to big hydroelectric project, such as the Susitna project.
On a visit to Fairbanks today with running mate Mead Treadwell, Parnell said that he is putting a group together to see how a major hydro project could be financed. He said he wants to send a “strong signal” of his support of hydro power as a long-range option.
He also is looking for answers on ways to reduce the cost.
The Legislature and the governor approved $10 million earlier this year to update studies on Susitna and the proposed Chakachamna project.
The state now has an official policy that it will be getting 50 percent of its power from renewable sources by 2025, according to a law approved by the Legislature and governor earlier this year.
It may be impossible to reach that target in 15 years. It will be impossible unless decisions are made soon to get something underway.
From The Anchorage Daily News, Sunday, August 15, 2010:
As an Alaska Native veteran, I want to see our country expand our clean energy sources. It will help our planet and our state, it will help Alaska’s Native peoples and it will help our national defense.
I am 69 years old. In my lifetime I have seen many changes connected to global warming. A big part of where I grew up has permafrost. The small village where my mother was born has sunk in and is now part of a large lake. I saw the old village of Kasigluk begin sinking in my short lifetime. The island where my maternal grandparents lived is mostly gone. A new Kasigluk was created almost a mile downriver from the old village. A new school, federally funded houses, post office and airport had to be built at a high cost.
The warming has affected the fall white fish runs on the Johnson River not far from Bethel. People there rarely fish for them anymore. The black fish creeks are almost nonexistent because of the changing river channels due to warming. The Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta has been invaded by beaver, which dam up the many small tundra creeks, disrupting the black fish runs.
Newtok, where my maternal grandmother’s family is from, and the village of Shishmaref need to be relocated at great cost due to erosion. Our elders link the erosion to changing weather due to warming. The melting of the permafrost also increases the cost of constructing homes and public buildings.
In rural villages, the cost of fuel to heat homes is high. So is the cost of electricity, which comes from expensive diesel fuel.
Continue reading: Clean energy can lessen Native suffering
From The Tundra Drums, Friday, August 20, 2010:
If Alaskans aren’t at a crossroads politically, we’re drawing close. Most all candidates running for statewide offices this year have given due time to talk about the state’s energy future, since we’ve been living off of our energy past for so long and change is coming. A dwindling flow of oil down the pipeline makes it impossible to ignore. It’s the way the state pays for much of what it does, so it impacts nearly everyone. Two of the five questions posed to candidates by Alaska Newspapers Inc. deal directly with energy and how we acquire it.
We also asked them about other issues important to rural Alaskans: subsistence, fisheries, jobs. Every candidate running for the U.S. House, U.S. Senate, governor’s office and lieutenant governor’s office was sent the same questions. Below are answers from those who responded.
Continue reading: Finding energy at the ballot box
From APRN, Monday, August 23, 2010:
A Southeast Alaska hydropower plant is closer to completion. A $9 million Alaska Energy Authority grant is the final piece of the funding puzzle for the Prince of Wales Island’s Reynolds Creek project.
Listen online: Southeast Hydropower Plant Approaches Completion
From The Associated Press, Wednesday, August 18, 2010:
A developer of tidal power in the nation’s northeastern corner is reporting success with its first commercial-sized underwater turbine, putting it on track to have one connected to the power grid by the end of 2011, officials said Wednesday.
Ocean Renewable Power Co. describes its proprietary 60-kilowatt turbine generator as the largest ocean energy power plant ever installed in U.S. waters.
So far, the unit has met or exceeded specifications for power in testing this year in the waters of eastern Maine, said Chris Sauer, president and CEO.
“It’s a critical step to our first commercial unit that’ll be connected to the grid in little more than a year now,” Sauer told The Associated Press. He touted the underwater turbine’s success as “a huge milestone for America’s ocean energy industry.”
Continue reading: Maine company says underwater turbine is a success
From APRN, Friday, August 13, 2010:
For years, the Aleutian village of Akutan has seen the energy potential in its hot springs and fumaroles. Now, it looks like that potential might be realized.
In July, work began on two exploratory wells. The first one was drilled on July 16, and it’s producing hot water at more than 360 degrees. The exploration team is drilling a second well, and they’re optimistic that the water will be similarly warm.
If it is, the exploration phase will end and the city of Akutan will start working on a power plant that would harness the steam from the ground and use it to power electrical turbines. Ray Mann is Akutan’s project manager, and he’s been working closely on the exploration project. He explains that Akutan – with its hot water at shallow depths – is particularly well suited for a renewable energy project like this.
Right now, Akutan uses diesel as its main energy source. Mann says because the cost of energy is already high and expected to get higher in the future, a geothermal plant could help save Akutan’s residents a good deal of money.
Continue reading: Akutan geothermal test exceeding expectation
From Capital City Weekly, Monday, August 9, 2010:
Residents of Juneau concerned with an increase in their monthly utility bills might find it easy to forget that in some Southeast communities, energy woes have been a constant issue for years. Rural areas like Angoon, heavily dependent on fossil fuels, face energy prices as high as ten times the national average. A new project, headed by the Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska, aims to change that.
Dan Lesh, energy coordinator for the Southeast Alaska Conservation Council, said the goal of the sustainability project is to show how efficiency and renewability can cut energy costs in rural villages.
Lesh said the cost of energy is exceptionally high in Angoon. The upper limit can be as high as $1,200 per month for a single household, he said, with the average cost in the $300 to $500 range.
“It’s one of the biggest issues in these small communities,” Lesh said.