FAQs about Clear Air Force Station

If GVEA is trying to move away from oil, why did the co-op pass up an opportunity to buy the coal-fired Clear Air Force Station power plant?

pole_employee_webGVEA, Aurora Energy, Doyon Utilities and others were given an opportunity to bid on the Clear Air Force Station power plant. Here are a couple of reasons why we (and maybe the others) chose not to submit a bid:

  • The Clear Air Force Station power plant is not being sold with its air permit. Buying a plant without an air permit is risky as there is no guarantee that the buyer would be able to obtain one. Air permits are required to operate power plants.
  • The cost of power from the Clear Power Plant, as estimated by GVEA consultant Sterling Energy, was higher than GVEA’s current average cost of power.

If Clear elects to connect to GVEA’s grid, would residential electric rates be impacted?

We don’t anticipate an impact, but should there be one, it would be negligible. Here’s why:

  • Golden Valley’s average electric load is about 165 megawatts. Our engineers estimate that bringing the Clear Air Force Station online could increase our load by about 4.5 MW (following planned system upgrades at the base). That’s an increase of about 2.75 percent, which is negligible in terms of total sales.
  • Higher sales mean spreading GVEA’s fixed costs across more kilowatt-hours, which is a good thing.
  • Higher sales due to the addition of Clear’s electric load won’t necessarily mean an increase in oil use. Why? GVEA uses a diverse mix of resources to generate power: oil, coal, natural gas, hydro and wind.

Golden Valley works to help connect all kinds of new members (stores, banks, new homeowners, etc.) to the grid. And just like any other member, Clear would be responsible for paying the costs associated with connecting to the cooperative’s grid.

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