Wind power capacity at Fire Island set to double by October 2015 

By Tegan Hanlon | Anchorage Daily News: Declaring the first year of generating electricity from wind at Fire Island a success, its Native corporation owner plans to double the number of turbines even as its customer, Chugach Electric Association, hasn’t fully accommodated a power source as variable as the wind.

The 262-foot tall turbines just west of Anchorage produced 50,092 megawatt hours of energy at the one-year anniversary Sept. 24. That’s enough power for about 6,422 homes, according to Suzanne Gibson, vice president of Fire Island Wind LLC, a subsidiary of Cook Inlet Region Inc.

And there’s more power to come. The company plans to add 11 turbines to the six-mile-long island by October 2015 at a cost of about $45 million, Gibson said.

So far, access roads and four turbine pads have been excavated on Fire Island where CIRI owns 3,600 of its 4,000 acres. Construction began last month so CIRI could take advantage of a federal investment tax credit that expires at the end of the year, Gibson said. The credit could provide up to $15 million in savings.

Now, the wind just needs a buyer. Gibson said the company is in talks with utility companies. Chugach officials would not comment on negotiations.

Chugach currently purchases all of the generated and potential wind power from the Fire Island. It entered into a 25-year agreement with CIRI that began when the turbines powered up last year.

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