State OKs Eva Creek wind farm near Healy 

by Jeff Richardson for Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, July 19, 2011

FAIRBANKS — The Alaska Department of Natural Resources has given preliminary approval to a large-scale wind farm near Healy, despite the objections of a competitor in the wind-power business.

The DNR preliminary approval is the latest step forward for the Eva Creek project, a 24.6-megawatt turbine farm envisioned by Golden Valley Electric Association near Healy. The GVEA board of directors unanimously voted in favor of Eva Creek in June, advancing a 16-turbine project that will become the largest wind farm in Alaska if it’s developed.

GVEA President Brian Newton said that unless any new complications emerge in the next month, the state is on pace to give final approval in late August or early September. GVEA hopes to launch the project in September 2012.

“We’re not anticipating any problems,” Newton said.

DNR approval is needed for the Eva Creek project because it requires development on and around state land. A 43-acre lease for turbines and support facilities is needed, along with permission for road construction and upgrades to the site.

The lease process has raised objections from CIRI, the regional Native corporation developing its own wind farm on Fire Island near Anchorage. CIRI had offered to supply wind-power energy to GVEA, but the board chose the utility’s own Eva Creek project in February.

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