UVEC Celebrates Installation Of Wind Turbines

Unalakleet Valley Electric Cooperative (UVEC) celebrated the completion of its six-turbine wind power installation in Alaska 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.

UVEC's wind farm, developed and constructed by Anchorage-based STG Inc., was built over a four-month period last summer. The project is expected to deliver 1.5 million kWh of wind-generated electricity to UVEC annually, which is approximately 35% of the community's electricity needs.

The six-turbine array is connected into UVEC's existing distribution system and the utility's diesel-powered generation facilities. The project has been online since November and 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,’ says Ike Towarak, general manager of UVEC. ‘The wind installation will help us be better prepared to manage ongoing operational costs at the utility.’

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 project utilized Northwind 100 wind turbines from Vermont-based Northern Power Systems.

The Web portal 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.

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.

SOURCE: Unalakleet Valley Electric Cooperative

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