For 15 years, Chugach pursued and assessed wind resource potential and development throughout its service territory, including Fire Island. Necessary studies were completed over the past several years to evaluate the impact of Fire Island Wind on Chugach's system and consumers. These efforts resulted in agreement with Fire Island Wind to purchase the output of its wind project located on Fire Island (Anchorage area map).
Fire Island Wind originally proposed a 52.8 MW wind farm to provide power to the entire Railbelt. The project was ultimately sized to provide energy solely to the Chugach service area. Fire Island Wind maintains a capacity factor of approximately 30 percent, provides an average output of approximately 5 megawatts, and produces approximately 44,000 MWh per year.
Chugach requires approximately 9 billion cubic feet of natural gas per year to meet its retail requirements. Purchase of wind energy is expected to reduce gas consumption up to 300 million cubic feet, or 3% of Chugach's long-term annual gas requirements.
Fire Island is connected to Anchorage via a double circuit 34.5 kV sub-transmission line. The sub-transmission line is comprised of submarine, overhead and underground segments. The bulk of the transmission line was paid for with a $25 million grant from the State Legislature in 2008. This grant was specifically for the purpose of building a transmission line to Fire Island.
Wind power is different from Chugach's other sources of power in that it varies depending on the wind. The Fire Island Wind Project provides Chugach with the experience of integrating a variable energy resource into our power supply portfolio. The knowledge Chugach is gaining by dispatching this resource increases our opportunities to provide stable, responsible and diversified energy in the future.
For more information on the project, construction and wind generators visit, Fire Island Wind LLC's website: www.fireislandwind.com