Wind turbines are helping the city of Kodiak — on Kodiak Island off the southern coast of Alaska — reduce its use of diesel fuel, lower its energy costs, and create cleaner energy. The Kodiak Electric Association (KEA), the island’s electric utility, installed three General Electric 1.5-MW turbines in 2009 as a part of the Pillar Mountain Wind Project.
After a year of successful operation, the KEA says the turbines have helped avoid using 930,000 gallons of diesel fuel. At about $3.50 a gallon, that’s more than $3,000,000. The turbines for the project have a total capacity of 4.5 MW, about 25% of the utility’s peak load demands. In addition, the wind turbines have supplied about 9% of annual system generation for the island.
“The use of wind turbines is saving our customers money and reducing emissions by directly displacing much of our diesel generation,” says Darron Scott, president & CEO of KEA. “The Pillar Mountain Wind Project is a significant step toward our target to generate 95% of our power from renewable resources by 2020.”
Most of the island is wilderness with only about 15,000 residents on the eastern side. The power grid is isolated with no external connections to other power sources. Prior to the installation of the wind turbines, a two-unit hydroelectric plant and seven diesel generators provided all of the island’s power.
The turbines feature controls and electronics, which help the machines meet grid codes and stay online even during severe disturbances. Because of the large percentage of wind generation on the KEA grid, studies are underway to examine high levels of wind penetration on smaller grids.
In addition to supplying the turbines, GE also signed a two-year service agreement with KEA. Under the agreement, GE will perform routine maintenance of the turbines for two years and provide maintenance training for KEA crews.
Filed Under: Projects