Eva Creek Wind Update: How’s it doing?

It’s doing well! The project is meeting our expectations. In fact, during these winter months (the windiest months of the year) the wind resources have been greater than anticipated resulting in higher power output than expected.

A beautiful sunset was captured at Eva Creek Wind.

A beautiful sunset was captured at Eva Creek Wind.

All 12 turbines were online and fully commissioned on December 31, 2012. Between January 1 and February 28, the 25-megawatt project put 15,407,350 kilowatt-hours of electricity into GVEA’s electric grid. That’s enough to power 11,672 average Interior homes (660 kWh/month) for two months.

How much oil did we save? Let’s phrase this question another way: had we relied on oil-fired power instead of Eva Creek Wind during January and February, how much oil would GVEA have used?*

During the months of January and February, it took about 59.5 gallons of oil to generate 1 MWh at the North Pole Expansion Power Plant (oil-fired). Here’s the math: 59.5 gallons X 15,407.35 MWh = 916,737 gallons.

GVEA would have burned 916,737 gallons of oil to generate 15,407,350 kWh. Keep in mind that this does not translate into direct savings.*

As members of GVEA, here are a few reasons we can be proud of the Eva Creek Wind project:

  • With a capacity of nearly 25 megawatts, it’s the largest wind project in Alaska.
  • It helped us meet the board’s 2014 Renewable Energy Pledge ahead of schedule. With the addition of Eva Creek Wind, more than 20 percent of our peak load (217.6 MW in 2012) could be coming from renewable energy.
  • It enabled GVEA to reduce CO2 emissions at the North Pole Expansion Power Plant by 8,012 tons during the months of January and February.**
  • It’s performing slightly better than we expected.

*GVEA has a diverse fuel mix including coal, natural gas, oil and hydro. So, when we bring wind power online, it doesn’t always just displace oil. Sometimes it displaces other fuel sources. The calculation above doesn’t take the following into consideration:

  • Thermal efficiency: For example, the NPEPP operates more efficiently during the winter months when the temperatures are cooler.
  • Spin: Also known as operating reserve, this is the amount of power available to the system within a short amount of time in case the wind dies down suddenly.
  • Load factors

**NPEPP produces an average of 0.52 tons/MWh of CO2 while operating.

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