Trading barbs over Fire Island wind power
September 30, 2011
Jill Burke of Alaska Dispatch: A third floor room in an office building in downtown Anchorage was breezy Tuesday as dark-suited attorneys aired arguments for and against allowing a new wind farm close to Anchorage to sell power to the state’s largest electric utility.
Chugach Electric Association, Inc. needs approval from the Regulatory Commission of Alaska to purchase wind-generated power from Fire Island Wind LLC, a subsidiary of the Native corporation Cook Inlet Region, Inc. The two companies have already signed an agreement solidifying their relationship and are pushing for a quick decision from the RCA. Without it, nearly $19 million in grant money available to Fire Island Wind through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will expire. That could irreparably sink the deal and any short-term hope of a new $65 million wind farm on Fire Island, 3 miles across Turnagain Arm from Anchorage. The project is expected to provide about 4 percent of Chugach’s annual demand, 90 percent of which is generated from natural gas. Read more