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  6.  | Golden Valley Electric Association Gets $100M Loan for Clean Energy

Golden Valley Electric Association Gets $100M Loan for Clean Energy

Jul 1, 2024 | Energy, Government, News

Photo Credit: ParisPhotographics | Golden Valley Electric Association

Golden Valley Electric Association (GVEA) has a $100 million loan from the US Department of Agriculture to pay for upgrades to the utility’s battery backup and connect to a solar power project in Nenana.

Connecting Solar, Enhancing Energy Diversity

GVEA applied for funding under the USDA Powering Affordable Clean Energy (PACE) program. The proposal includes multiple initiatives aimed at reducing fuel costs, lowering reliance on fossil fuels, and enhancing energy diversity:

  • Battery Energy Storage System (BESS): Construction of a 46 MW, 92 MWh BESS in Fairbanks, interconnecting at GVEA’s existing Wilson substation
  • Substation Upgrades: Enhancements to the Nenana Substation to support a 16 MW solar Power Purchase Agreement with Nenana Solar Farm
  • 24.9kV Express Distribution Circuit: Installation of a half-mile long circuit to connect the Nenana Solar Farm to the Nenana Substation

In addition to receiving the full amount of PACE funding requested, GVEA was able to obtain loan forgiveness at the maximum level. Thanks to a partnership with Doyon, Limited, up to $60 million could be forgiven. In addition to that bargain rate, the BESS could qualify for tax credits of 30 to 50 percent.

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July 2024

“This is an exciting project for Doyon as it directly benefits our shareholder families and homes. Over a quarter of Doyon’s shareholder base resides in the GVEA service area,” says Tanya Kaquatosh, Doyon’s senior vice president of administration. “Doyon’s mission to promote the economic and social well-being of our shareholders and future shareholders, and to strengthen our Native way of life, directly aligns with the value this project will bring to its ratepayers by creating jobs and training opportunities, reducing the cost of electricity, and improving long-term infrastructure for Interior Alaska.”

Community Collaboration

GVEA’s Community Benefit Plan (CBP) is a core component of the successful loan award. The CBP seeks to extend benefits to the communities GVEA serves beyond the scope of the awarded project, guided by PACE program goals to fortify the Interior workforce, promote energy efficiency and carbon reduction, integrate clean energy into traditional agriculture, and increase diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility through a transformative clean energy economy.

“This funding will allow GVEA to significantly advance initiatives under our Strategic Generation Plan, benefiting our members and the broader community. We are committed to creating a sustainable energy future for Interior Alaska,” says GVEA’s new CEO Travis Million. “Our collaboration with Doyon underscores the importance of community partnerships in achieving these goals. We look forward to continued teamwork with additional community stakeholders as things advance.”

GVEA will work with Rural Utilities Service, the entity administering the PACE program, to negotiate the award agreement in the third quarter of 2024 and to finalize project milestones, construction, and purchase agreements associated with these projects to begin the construction process.

Alaska Business Magazine July 2024 cover
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Best of Alaska Business 2024
July 2024
Welcome to the 2024 Best of Alaska Business special section! For the ninth time we invited our readers to tell us which Alaska businesses they love the most, this year in forty-four categories. Throughout the month of March, you told us who should be featured in these pages, and we're thrilled to be able to publish the results.
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