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  6.  | Baxter Senior Living Partners with AEA, KI Energy to Install Cutting-Edge Green Power Generation

Baxter Senior Living Partners with AEA, KI Energy to Install Cutting-Edge Green Power Generation

Jan 26, 2021 | Energy, News

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Baxter Senior Living, a senior living community in Anchorage, has successfully commissioned a Yanmar Combined Heat and Power (CHP) system that will produce the senior community’s electricity from natural gas it is burning for heat.

This is by far the largest installation to date of Yanmar CHP units in Alaska and a major milestone for KI Energy, a subsidiary of Knikahtnu, Inc. dedicated to developing a market in Alaska for this revolutionary technology.

The Alaska Energy Authority (AEA) provided the financing to make the project viable through its Power Project Fund (PPF). The hope for KI Energy, AEA, and Yanmar is to advance efficient, renewable energy projects in other parts of the state for reduced carbon footprint and decreased costs to businesses.

According to KI Energy, this important project will greatly improve the facility’s energy efficiency. Tom Harris, CEO of KI Energy says, “CHP applications involve producing electricity in an engine and capturing the excess heat for useful purposes like building heat or hot water. A Yanmar CHP unit uses 88 percent of the energy it consumes, compared with only 37 to 60 percent at a commercial power plant.”

“Alaska is a perfect place for this technology since we are all paying for heating fuel anyway. Producing your own power from the fuel you’re already buying makes a lot of sense for any building owner that needs 35 kW or more,” he adds.

 

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Alaska Business June 2021 Cover

June 2021

Not only do these units lower bills and shrink the senior living community’s carbon footprint, but they also assure disaster resilience. In the case of unexpected power failure, the CHP units can keep the facility running on emergency power indefinitely.

“We were able to work with KI Energy and AEA to design a package of equipment and financing that allows our forecast utility cost savings to be far greater than the debt service for the project,” says JR Wilcox, president of Baxter Senior Living.

He continues, “This is a big win for disaster preparedness and the environment. I hope to see similar projects all over Anchorage in the near future.”

Other Alaskan businesses and organizations are also looking to participate in this practical energy solution.

“AEA constantly seeks out opportunities that benefit Alaskans—and Baxter Senior Living is a great example of this,” says AEA Executive Director Curtis W. Thayer. “We are proud to employ the Power Project Fund loan program to invest in this innovative project that will provide significant energy cost savings, as well as energy security for a portion of Alaska’s vulnerable elderly population.”

Clean Energy Solutions for Alaska

KI Energy’s goal is to provide affordable energy solutions to Alaska businesses, which face America’s longest and coldest winters. Alaska has one of the highest energy costs for heat and power in the country.

The success of the Baxter Senior Living project opens the door to future renewable energy installations for other senior living communities, as well as a wide range of businesses and facilities in general. 

According to the Institute for Energy Research, “Alaska has some of the highest electricity and gasoline prices in the country, which is not surprising because Alaska is large, remote, and sparsely populated.” The state’s agencies acknowledge that Alaska faces challenges forging a path to its sustainable future.

However, partnerships like the Baxter Senior Living renewable energy initiative demonstrate how individual projects can lay the groundwork for a more sustainable Alaska, inspiring other organizations to work toward similar energy goals. 

KI Energy, Yanmar, AEA, and Baxter Senior Living are optimistic about the CHP system and hope that other businesses will take notice of this real opportunity to cut energy costs and reduce their carbon footprint.

KI Energy has previously installed three single-unit CHP systems: one in Wasilla, one in McCarthy, and recently one in Anchorage at the AVI building at 1577 C St.

Baxter’s system is the first multi-unit installation and was one of the two largest Yanmar CHP projects in the United States last year. KI Energy hopes these pioneers’ demonstration of the utility of this technology will lead to increased adoption and become an important part of how energy is provided in Alaska.

Alaska Business Magazine June 2021 Cover

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On January 16, a fire destroyed the water plant and washeteria in the southwest Alaska village of Tuluksak. For the village of about 350 people, it was a devastating blow. The water plant was the only source of drinking water in the village, in which the primarily Yup’ik residents lack indoor plumbing and rely on honey buckets, not uncommon in the flat, swampy region.

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