Eva Creek Wind Farm Update

GVEA is a not-for-profit electric cooperative. This means all members are owners. The mission of this cooperative is to provide safe, reliable power at the lowest cost possible. That said, you may be wondering why GVEA’s Board of Directors did not select the Delta Wind Project. The reason is economics. The Eva Creek Wind Project will provide lower cost power than the Delta Wind Project. The board made the decision to move forward with GVEA’s mission in mind.

Permitting Delta Wind Farm is fully permitted GVEA has not received necessary permits for Eva Creek Until the Board makes the final decision on Eva Creek (expected in June), permitting is premature. However, GVEA has worked closely with state agencies over the past two years and has applied for the necessary permits. Government agencies are very favorable toward renewable energy projects.
Site Access Site is accessible at Mile 1418 of the Alaskan Highway to any traffic Eva Creek site is accessible only by off-road vehicle.  A bridge and 20 miles of road needs to be constructed capable of carrying loads in excess of 125,000 pounds Out of respect to the rural nature of the area and the residents of Ferry, GVEA is not considering a bridge across the Nenana River. Instead, GVEA will use the railroad to deliver material and equipment to the project side of the river.The costs of extending the railroad off-loading site as well as the cost of improving the road (7 miles) is included in GVEA’s project cost.
Shovel Ready Delta Wind Farm has turbine sites fully developed GVEA has not begun any construction at Eva Creek Until the Board makes the final decision on Eva Creek (expected in June), we have not constructed the turbine sites. However, our engineering has identified the exact locations of the turbines to deliver the maximum energy yield.
Grid Efficiency Delta Wind Farm will improve grid efficiency between North Pole and Delta by 7% Eva Creek will compete for the limited space on the Northern Intertie and incurr approximately 7% line losses.  This problem will be compounded by the Healy Clean Coal Plant when it comes online. The published engineering study has assured us that the Northern Intertie has sufficient capacity for both Eva Creek  and HCCP.All power lines experience line loss. The line losss from Healy to Fairbanks is less than 3%.
Integrating Wind Power Delta Wind Farm has a less volatile wind regime and is not competing for space on the Northern Intertie.  For these reasons the cost of integrating Delta Wind Farm’s power is 60% lower than Eva Creek. Eva Creek has more gusty winds than Delta Wind Farm causing larger power swings on GVEA’s grid and costing more to integrate. The cost to integrate both projects is equal, as both are projected to be deliver the same amount of power (24 MW).What’s more important is average wind speed. Eva Creek has an average speed of 7.8 meters per second while Delta Wind has an average speed of 6.6 meters per second. This means Eva Creek will deliver significantly more power over the course of a year (we call this capacity factor).
Projected Finish Date Delta Wind Farm could have been fully operational by the end of 2011.  Because GVEA has not accepted a proposal by Delta Wind Farm the 2011 construction season has been lost.  Delta Wind Farm will instead be finished by November 30, 2012. GVEA has stated their projected finish date to be year’s end 2012.  Delta Wind Farm finds this date to be extremely hopeful.  The permitting process and road/bridge construction will need to be finished before construction of Eva Creek could begin. Once the Board votes to move ahead with Eva Creek, the project will be scheduled for completion by September 2012.Delta Wind’s last proposal (dated April 11, 2011) has a commercial operation date of August 2012.
Project Cost Delta Wind Farm will be financed by $43 million in private capital.  Delta Wind Farm will not cost the public anything. EVA Creek will be financed through a loan of $93 million to be paid off over 18 years by GVEA members At the February Board meeting, staff reported the estimated cost of Eva Creek at $90 million. However, we expect the price to drop once the final bids are considered in June.The loan for Eva Creek is part of the Federal Stimulus. The interest rate is approximately 2.1% and will be paid off over a 18-year period. All financing costs, for either Eva Creek or Delta Wind, is reflected in the price per kilowatt hour for each project. In Eva Creek’s case, the price per kWh is 9.8 cents per kWh. Delta Wind’s cost is 12.5 cents per kWh. In other words, Eva Creek’s price is 30% less than Delta Wind’s price.
Projected Savings Delta Wind Farm has projected savings of $82 million to GVEA members over a 20 year contract.  These savings increase with the cost of a barrel of oil. GVEA’s own projections have shown that Eva Creek will save $13 million over 20 years Delta Wind is priced at 12.5 cents per kilowatt-hour. Eva Creek is priced at 9.8 cents per kilowatt-hour. Over a period of a year that will amount to $2,025,000 more for power from Delta Wind. ((75,000,000 kWh X ($0.125 – $0.098)).
Public Financial Risk Delta Wind Farm is essentially a free wind farm for GVEA.  No investment by GVEA is necessary.  Delta Wind Farm will only be paid for production and at a rate lower than the current avoided fuel cost. The HCCP was ready to produce power in 1999.  GVEA member’s over the past 10 years would have saved around $200 million by burning coal over diesel.  Fairbanks would also have less air quality concerns. True, members will not pay for Delta Wind directly. But they will pay more in their monthly bills for the power it produces. And yes, we wish HCCP were up and running. Hindsight is 20/20. That is why GVEA is trying to get the EPA to renew our air permit so we can restart the plant and pass the savings on to our members.
Proven Experience and Follow Through Delta Wind Farm entered the energy market 4 years ago.  In that time 7 small turbines and 2 commercial scale turbines have been erected at two separate sites.  Delta Wind Farm has already produced 1.4 Million kWh, offset 90,000 gallons of diesel, and is ready to expand. GVEA has been studying their Eva Creek site for almost 7 years.  They have erected no turbines.  Eva Creek is a project that will be paid for by GVEA Members whether it produces power or not.  At a time when GVEA is struggling to bring energy costs down GVEA’s sole focus should be on bringing the Healy Clean Coal plant online. We don’t take the responsibility of spending our members’ money lightly. That’s why we’ve studied Eva Creek thoroughly. That’s also why we waited until a wind project came along that did not raise our members’ bills. Eva Creek is GVEA’s best and lowest cost option for renewable energy.
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