Wind power storage generating heat, displacing diesel
June 6, 2014
By Elwood Brehmer | Alaska Journal of Commerce: President Barack Obama has long touted an “all of the above” energy strategy for America. In Western Alaska, a small group of villages is putting the rhetoric to work.
By implementing a complex power management system in four Kuskokwim Bay-area communities, the team at Intelligent Energy Systems has started to employ wind power for heat, expanding the use of a renewable energy source typically limited to electric generation.
“With respect to villages in Western Alaska, renewables is not a luxury. It’s a necessity that has to be harnessed to make those villages sustainable,” said Dennis Meiners, a project manager for Anchorage-based Intelligent Energy Systems. “We’ve invested in infrastructure and this is a way to support it.”
Meiners’ team has been working to integrate wind energy into diesel-supported grids in Kwigillingok, Kongiganak, Kipnuk and Tuntutuliak — a collective population of about 1,700 residents.
The village governments formed the Chaninik Wind Group in 2005 as a way to pool resources and develop affordable energy solutions, Meiners said.