17-MW Fire Island wind project nearly ready for operation

The 17-MW Fire Island wind project, which will serve Chugach Electric Association (CEA) in southcentral Alaska is expected to be ready for commercial operation by the end of September.

CEA has agreed to buy electric output from the first 11-turbine phase of the project at a flat net price of $97/MWH for 25 years, beginning Jan. 1, 2013, according to the Fire Island Wind LLC fact sheet. Fire Island is is an independent producer affiliated with CIRI, which is one of 12 Alaska-based regional corporations established by the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971. CIRI is involved in a number of ventures including traditional and alternative energy development.

The Regulatory Commission of Alaska approved the power contract in October 2011.

The 17-MW wind project should generate enough electricity to power 4,000 Alaska households and offset roughly a half billion cubic feet of natural gas that would otherwise be needed for generation fuel. The project should also supply about 4% of the Chugach load, according to a Fire Island newsletter.

Fire Island Wind LLC will build additional project phases if additional buyers agree to purchase wind power. The full project is permitted to include up to 33 turbines with total generating capacity of nearly 53 MW.

The wind towers are an estimated 260 feet high and the turbine blades are roughly 130-feet long.

The wind project will be connected to Anchorage via a double circuit 34- kV transmission line, according to the CEA website. The transmission line is comprised of submarine, overhead and underground segments. The bulk of the transmission line will be paid for by a $25m grant awarded by the State Legislature in 2008. This grant was specifically for the purpose of building a transmission line to Fire Island.

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.