Winds of Change: Report by KEA President/CEO Darron Scott

Over the last few weeks, you have seen the top of Pillar Mountain changing, and over the next few weeks you will be seeing the Cost of Power Adjustment (COPA) on your bill changed as well. 

Over the weekend of September 8-9, KEA and General Electric (GE) began operational testing of all three of the newly installed wind turbines.  The testing went great and all three turbines are now operational.  Each of the three turbines is a 1.5 Megawatts (MW) unit that is 80 meters tall with a rotor diameter of 77 meters.  When combined with the upcoming new battery energy storage system, the units will produce approximately 13 million kilowatt hours (kWh) per year, which will save over 900,000 gallons of diesel per year.  KEA is incredibly excited about bringing this project to our community. 

KEA is currently working on another portion of the project in one of our substations, and our complete 9 MW wind farm will be held to a maximum of 5 MW during this time.  The substation work will be completed over the next couple of weeks, so then the wind farm can be taken to maximum production.  However, we won’t do that very much until our battery energy storage system is installed in the October/November time frame.  The new battery storage units will allow the electrical system to remain stable despite the variable wind power output. 

A big thank you to the entire Kodiak community for your continued support!  Several local contractors were critical in the successful completion of the wind turbines.  I would like to thank Samson Tug and Barge Co, Inc., 3-Way Electric of Alaska, Inc., Belarde Custom Concrete, Inc., and Brechan Enterprises, Inc. for all of their great work.  GMC Contracting, Inc. and JD Steel from the Anchorage area were instrumental in the project as well. 

GREAT NEWS:  COPA is going down!  Your COPA was 3.9530 cents per kWh and now it has dropped to 1.8626 cents per kWh.  We have had great production out of our renewable energy sources – Terror Lake and Pillar Mountain – and with more wind on the system we look forward to even greater production in the future.  So, with our high renewable energy plans, we are able to lower our COPA.  Now we just need to ensure that our weather stays wet and windy???  

It is great to see the results of KEA’s Board of Directors’ vision of utilizing renewable energy.  Our efforts are keeping our rates stable while fossil fuel costs continue to be erratic and expensive.  I would like to close by thanking KEA’s employees for helping to make these projects successful. We will keep you updated as we progress on the battery energy storage system and the new hydro turbine at Terror Lake.

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