Nome, Unalakleet fire up with wind power on the Iditarod trail
February 19, 2012
Two checkpoints on the Iditarod – Nome and Unalakleet – now have windpower systems. Since November 2009, the Unalakleet Village Electric Cooperative’s six Northwind100 turbines have churned out enough energy to save the community from burning more than 147,000 gallons of diesel fuel, a saving of about $367,500 at a rate of $2.50 a gallon for diesel. Check out Unalakleet’s website where you can track the turbines’ power production in real time.
Nome, the endpoint of the trail, has 18 Entegrity EW-50 turbines, that were installed on Banner Peak in 2008. From January 2010-November 2010, the turbines generated 767,000 kilowatt hours, a savings of 59,000 gallons of diesel based on a power plant efficiency of 13kWh per gallon of diesel. From January 2011-December 2011, the turbines generated 955,000 kilowatt hours, a savings of 60,000 gallons of diesel based on a power plant efficiency of 16kWh per gallon of diesel.
That makes a total savings of nearly 120,000 gallons of diesel in the past two years that didn’t have to be burned to power Nome. Read more about Nome’s turbines here.
STG Incorporated Press Release on Unalakleet turbines
[UNALAKLEET, AK, February 23, 2010] – Today, Unalakleet Valley Electric Cooperative (UVEC) celebrated the completion of its six-turbine wind power installation through the launch of a web portal that provides opportunities for the public to monitor the project’s energy production. UVEC’s 600 kW wind installation was completed in November 2009 and is one of the first implemented through the financial support of the State of Alaska’s Renewable Energy Fund, a $250 million grant program designed to support renewable energy projects that help reduce the cost of energy for Alaskans. The installation was also made possible through financial assistance from Norton Sound Economic Development Corporation (NSEDC), the Commercial Development Quota organization serving Alaska’s Bering Strait Region, and the Unalakleet Native Corporation (UNC).
UVEC’s wind farm, developed and constructed by Anchorage-based STG Incorporated, was built over a four month period last summer. The project is expected to deliver 1,500,000 kWh of wind-generated electricity to UVEC annually, approximately 35% of the electricity needs for the community. The six-turbine array is connected into UVEC’s existing distribution system and the utility’s diesel-powered generation facilities. By producing energy with no fuel costs, the wind installation will provide substantial annual savings in avoided diesel fuel expenditures and will consequently stabilize and reduce the cost of energy across the community.
The project has been on-line since November and to date has produced enough electricity to save approximately 21,000 gallons of diesel fuel for the Unalakleet member-owned cooperative. “Like most all rural Alaska utilities, we have seen a dramatic increase in the delivered price of our primary fuel source, diesel, over the past five years,” said UVEC General Manager Ike Towarak. “The wind installation will help us be better prepared to manage on-going operational costs at the utility. This results in direct benefits for our members by making it possible to pass along cost savings to UVEC’s rate payers.”
Through the financial assistance of the State of Alaska, NSEDC, and UNC, the wind project was completed on an accelerated schedule in order for the community to begin receiving fuel-saving benefits this winter. The Alaska Energy Authority (AEA) maintains oversight of Alaska’s Renewable Energy Fund Program which provided a $4 million dollar grant for the wind installation. “We are very pleased to see this happen in Unalakleet,” noted AEA Executive Director Steve Haagenson. “This wind energy project is a great example of a good public/private partnership and a solid illustration of positive results from Alaska’s Renewable Energy Fund.”
The wind project is fully operational, but will be running at a reduced capacity until UVEC’s new power plant is completed later this year. The wind turbines utilized for the project, the Northwind 100, are manufactured by Vermont-based Northern Power Systems and engineered for operation in Arctic conditions. “Overall, the project has performed well and the turbines helped us begin to reduce fuel consumption at the utility almost immediately,” said Towarak. “We were fortunate to have a very capable team of companies and individuals supporting the rapid deployment of our project and we expect to see even stronger system performance as we implement new controls later this year.”
While the web portal is one of the first in Alaska to provide publically accessible real-time energy production data for a wind-diesel installation, it was launched primarily to support educational opportunities by illustrating how the wind-generated electricity from UVEC’s wind system is being utilized in the community. “It has been a privilege for us to work with UVEC and the village of Unalakleet to bring this project to fruition,” said STG President James St. George. “Wind power is addressing energy-related challenges in villages across Alaska. It is exciting that this portal will provide opportunities to publically celebrate not just the success of this individual project, but the technology’s abilities to deliver tangible benefits that can be realized in many of our communities.”
The portal will also support the implementation of hands-on and interactive curriculum designed to teach Unalakleet students about wind energy systems. The curriculum is under development, but is being modeled after the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s Wind for Schools program.
UVEC and project partners plan to showcase the recently launched web-based portal at a public dedication ceremony scheduled to be held at the Unalakleet school later this season. A permanent display of the portal has been installed in the school library and is accessible through the following link: http://northernpower.kiosk-view.com/unalakleet.
About Unalakleet Valley Electric Cooperative
Unalakleet Valley Electric Cooperative (UVEC) is a non-profit member cooperative servicing the village of Unalakleet on Alaska’s Bering Sea coast. The utility is managed by a seven-member Board of Directors and its General Manager, providing electricity services for approximately 750 residents and local businesses across the community.
About STG Incorporated
For over fifteen years, STG has provided construction services and management for a wide variety of commercial clients across rural Alaska. The company specializes in the construction of bulk fuel systems, pile foundations, power generation and distribution facilities, communication towers and renewable energy systems. A market leader in the installation of commercial wind energy systems, STG has installed approximately 75% of the utility-scale wind turbines operating in Alaska. For additional information, please visit www.stgincorporated.com.