Alaska Power & Telephone announced that it was selected by the US Department of Agriculture to receive $3,000,000 in grant funds through the High Energy Cost Grant Program to construct a 1.8 megawatt wind farm in interior Alaska.
The 7-Mile Wind project will be located in a Class-4 Wind area adjacent the Glenn Highway, near the community of Tok, Alaska. It will provide communities of Tok, Tetlin, Dot Lake, and Tanacross with clean and more affordable renewable energy.
Currently these four communities have been 100% dependent upon diesel-based generation of electricity, and experience energy costs which in recent years have been higher than $0.50 per kilowatt hour. Approximately 1,500 residents live within the communities which will benefit from the 7-Mile Wind project.
7-Mile Wind is anticipated to produce over 3.7 million kilowatt hours of home-sourced renewable energy, offsetting over a quarter million gallons of diesel fuel per year. Annual carbon savings are more than 66,650 metric tons.
The total cost of the project is estimated at $10 million. AP&T will be working to complete the project’s financing plan in the coming months, anticipating that remaining construction dollars will be predominantly comprised of private investment and loan funds.
AP&T has a target of completing the project by the end of 2018, although the project’s timeline is dependent upon weather and other factors.
Alaska Power & Telephone President and CEO Robert Grimm, said the project will help stabilize energy pricing by reducing our customer’s exposure to pricing volatility and cost-escalation associated with diesel fuel.
The 7-Mile wind project is one effort in a multi-technology approach to converting its rural service areas from diesel-based generation to other sources of energy. The company is also working to develop the 1.5 MW Yerrick Creek hydropower project near Tanacross.
The company believes that both projects will help improve the economics of subsequent transmission interconnections to other nearby communities such as Northway and Mentasta. Meanwhile, AP&T is conducting tests to understand the benefits of fuels of opportunity, to help diversify fuel supply in the region.
Alaska Power & Telephone Company currently owns and operates 7 small hydropower projects in rural Alaska, as well as the largest utility-owned solar installation in the State. The company is in the process of constructing two additional hydropower projects; the Hiilangaay project on Prince of Wales Island, in addition to Yerrick Creek.