Big wind up north
November 23, 2012
Wind energy caught on in a big way in Alaska in the past 2 years, with more than 30 wind turbines being installed. In the NWT, Diavik Diamonds installed four 2.3-megawatt wind turbines at its mine site.
- Smaller Alaska communities went gangbusters in 2011, installing 21 small turbines, with an installed capacity of 2,750 Kw. This follows 8 turbines installed in 2010.
- The large scale Fire Island wind farm, near Anchorage, went into service in 2012. The first 11-turbine project phase has a 17.6 megawatt (MW) generation capacity.
- Diavik Diamonds installed four 2.3-megawatt wind turbines at the mine site to reduce its diesel consumption. The capital cost of the project was $25 million.
- Yukon Energy Corporation (YEC) has three rather old wind turbines installed in Whitehorse: two 150 Kw units manufactured by Bonus Energy, installed in 1993; and one Vestas V47-660 installed in 2000 (capacity 660 Kw).
- The NWT government is currently assessing wind in seven communities. Early research indicates that most communities do not have the world-class wind resource of 7.3 metres per second, as exists at Diavik.
- Qulliq Energy Corp., the energy producer in Nunavut, installed several wind turbines in the late 1990s, but was plagued with operational problems. Qulliq is not contemplating wind projects.
Alaska is the clear leader in the north on wind energy. The Center for American Progress sponsored a conference on renewable energy this past summer (see source d below). It has excellent on line resources under Alaska Energy Wiki, including a state map that shows the wind energy potential throughout the state.
It is interesting that a diamond mine took the initiative to install a wind farm. The location was ideal and the company saw a way to reduce costs and greenhouse gases.
- c) An excellent paper on wind energy best practices is posted at http://energy-alaska.wikidot.com/wind-diesel-applications. The authors are Fay, Ginny, Katherine Keith, and Tobias Schwörer. "Alaska Isolated Wind-Diesel Systems: Performance and Economic Analysis." June 2010.
- d)http://energy-alaska.wikidot.com/wind and http://www.americanprogress.org/events/2012/05/24/17232/challenges-and-opportunities-for-renewable-energy-in-alaska/