Unalakleet Valley Electric Cooperative Celebrates Community Wind Power Installation; Launches Project Web Portal
UNALAKLEET, Alaska, Feb. 23, 2010 - Today, Unalakleet Valley Electric Cooperative (UVEC)
celebrated the completion of its six-turbine wind power installation 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 that help reduce the cost of energy for Alaskans. The
installation was also made possible through financial assistance from Norton Sound Economic
Development Corporation (NSEDC), the Commercial Development Quota organization serving Alaska's
Bering Strait Region, and the Unalakleet Native Corporation (UNC).
UVEC's wind farm, developed and constructed by Anchorage-based STG Incorporated, was built over a
four month period last summer. The project is expected to deliver 1,500,000 kWh of wind-generated
electricity to UVEC annually, approximately 35% of the electricity needs for the community. The sixturbine
array is connected into UVEC's existing distribution system and the utility's diesel-powered
generation facilities. By producing energy with no fuel costs, the wind installation will provide
substantial annual savings in avoided diesel fuel expenditures and will consequently stabilize and reduce
the cost of energy across the community.
The project has been on-line since November and to date 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," said UVEC General Manager Ike Towarak. "The wind
installation will help us be better prepared to manage on-going operational costs at the utility. This results
in direct benefits for our members by making it possible to pass along cost savings to UVEC's rate
Through the financial assistance of the State of Alaska, NSEDC, and UNC, the wind project was
completed on an accelerated schedule in order for the community to begin receiving fuel-saving benefits
this winter. The Alaska Energy Authority (AEA) maintains oversight of Alaska's Renewable Energy
Fund Program which provided a $4 million dollar grant for the wind installation. "We are very pleased to
see this happen in Unalakleet," noted AEA Executive Director Steve Haagenson. "This wind energy
project is a great example of a good public/private partnership and a solid illustration of positive results
from Alaska's Renewable Energy Fund."
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 wind turbines utilized for the project, the Northwind 100, are
manufactured by Vermont-based Northern Power Systems and engineered for operation in Arctic
conditions. "Overall, the project has performed well and the turbines helped us begin to reduce fuel
consumption at the utility almost immediately," said Towarak. "We were fortunate to have a very
capable team of companies and individuals supporting the rapid deployment of our project and we expect
to see even stronger system performance as we implement new controls later this year."
While the web portal is one of the first in Alaska to provide publically accessible real-time energy
production data for a wind-diesel installation, it was launched primarily to support educational
opportunities by illustrating how the wind-generated electricity from UVEC's wind system is being
utilized in their community. "It has been a privilege for us to work with UVEC and the village of
Unalakleet to bring this project to fruition," said STG President James St. George. "Wind power is
addressing energy-related challenges in villages across Alaska. It is exciting that this portal will provide
opportunities to publically celebrate not just the success of this individual project, but the technology's
abilities to deliver tangible benefits that can be realized in many of our communities."
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.
UVEC and project partners plan to showcase the recently launched web-based portal at a public
dedication ceremony scheduled to be held at the Unalakleet school later this season. A permanent display
of the portal has been installed in the school library and is accessible through the following link:
About Unalakleet Valley Electric Cooperative
Unalakleet Valley Electric Cooperative (UVEC) is a non-profit member cooperative servicing the village
of Unalakleet on Alaska's Bering Sea coast. The utility is managed by a seven-member Board of
Directors and its General Manager, providing electricity services for approximately 750 residents and
local businesses across the community.
About STG Incorporated
For over fifteen years, STG has provided construction services and management for a wide variety of
commercial clients across rural Alaska. The company specializes in the construction of bulk fuel systems,
pile foundations, power generation and distribution facilities, communication towers and renewable
energy systems. A market leader in the installation of commercial wind energy systems, STG has
installed approximately 75% of the utility-scale wind turbines operating in Alaska. For additional
information, please visit www.stgincorporated.com.