Fire Island, Eva Creek sit to begin producing wind power
September 7, 2012
By Tim Bradner | Alaska Journal of Commerce:
The new Fire Island 17.6 megawatt wind power project developed by Cook Inlet Region Inc. will be generating power in a week or two.
Commissioning of the 11 wind turbines on the island is expected to be completed by Sept. 8 or 9 and a 72-hour test of the facility is expected the week of Sept. 10.
“After that, the contractors turn the keys over to us,” CIRI spokesman Jim Jager said.
Meanwhile, a second wind power project will be supplying electricity to the Southcentral–Interior Alaska “railbelt” power grid in late October.
It is Golden Valley Electric Assoc.’s Eva Creek project, which has 12 turbines with a capacity of 25 megawatts.
Eva Creek is near Healy, between Anchorage and Fairbanks on the Parks Highway.
Fairbanks-based Golden Valley, the electric cooperative serving Interior Alaska, held a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Eva Creek with state and local officials in late August.
Golden Valley will use Eva Creek power in its own system, while CIRI will sell power from Fire Island to Chugach Electric Assoc.
Fire Island is in Cook Inlet just offshore from Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport.
CIRI owns most of the land on Fire Island and developed the wind project with a first-phase cost of $65 million. The project was intended to be larger but was scaled back to 11 turbines in a first phase to allow for the variable wind power to be efficiently integrated into Chugach’s system.
The State of Alaska contributed $20 million to the project to pay for submarine cables connecting the island to the mainland, and for the connections to Chugach’s power grid. The total cost, including both the CIRI and state investment, is $85 million.