Fire Island wind turbines nearly ready to power up
July 19, 2012
By Suzanna Caldwell | Alaska Dispatch:
There are some new, very tall figures between the spruce trees, sand dunes and boggy ponds that cover Fire Island, just 3 miles west of Anchorage.
Fire Island Wind, a subsidiary of CIRI, has nearly finished erecting 11 wind turbines on the island, the endgame after more than a decade of talk over a wind farm.
The first 262-foot-tall turbine was erected last Friday, July 13. The rest of the turbines should be hoisted into place by Aug. 15. After that, it will take about six weeks to put them into commission and start creating wind energy for southcentral Alaska. The utility purchasing the power, Chugach Electric Association, is Alaska’s largest electric power utility.
When the farm is up and running, it will be considered the largest independent power producer in the state, according to Margie Brown, CIRI president and CEO. It’s one of only a few producers in Alaska producing power separately from a power utility.
“It’s gratifying,” said Brown, standing on Fire Island next to a partially erected turbine on Wednesday. “We’re very pleased. This has been a long time coming. It’s a real source of pride for the company.”
The biggest hiccup in the project’s construction?
Running into a grizzly bear, which quickly disappeared. Other than that, construction surprises have been minimal, said Ron Versaw, project engineer for Tetra Tech, the construction company in charge of building the turbines.