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Construction Updates

Chugach battery storage project will improve reliability and efficiency

Chugach is investing in a Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) that will primarily serve as a reliability and efficiency project, focused on improving the primary frequency response on the Railbelt Transmission System. Battery storage technology enables utilities to store energy for later use and allows for more efficient natural gas generation.

The battery will enable Chugach to generate the same amount of power consuming less natural gas. Battery storage is also one of several technology options that allow flexibility in the power system and make it possible to integrate high levels of renewable energy, such as wind and solar. 

The BESS, a Tesla Megapack system, is rated at 40 Megawatts for two hours. It will be located just south of the Chugach headquarters building on Electron Drive. Matanuska Electric Association, Inc. will have a 25% interest in the BESS project. The project is expected to be on line in October 2024.

Cooper Landing reliability project wrapping up

Contracted crews have completed all major work on the Cooper Landing reliability project. The project, overseen by Chugach’s engineering department and completed by contractor Alaska Line Builders, covers nearly 2.9 miles of line from the Daves Creek Substation to Kenai Lake. The project increases capacity and reliability by adding poles and replacing conductors/cross arms. The first portion of the project had difficult terrain with challenging access. Additionally, extreme snow and temperatures pushed the project completion back around a month. All project construction was done with the line energized, minimizing disruptions to members. 

Key communications infrastructure upgraded

The much-needed replacement of a key component of Chugach’s communication network is complete. The 40-year-old Bernice Lake repeater shelter, located in Nikiski, had reached the end of its useful life and has been replaced.

The repeater is responsible for Chugach’s microwave communication between Anchorage and the Kenai Peninsula. In addition to taking out the old structure and putting in a new one, the project included installation of racks, equipment, batteries, and the re-commissioning of the microwave and mobile radio communication systems.

Throughout the summer, work will continue to reinstall fencing, clear brush from key areas, and make improvements to the access road.

O’Malley Road relocation undergrounding

In partnership with a larger Alaska Department of Transportation (DOT) project, Chugach is undergrounding approximately one mile of overhead distribution lines along a section of O’Malley Road. The $22 million road project will widen O’Malley Road from Livingston Street to Hillside Drive, putting in a center turn lane and pedestrian paths on both sides.

Chugach began work with DOT contractor Quality Asphalt & Paving (QAP) in late 2021. Right-of-way clearing and directional boring was completed in March. In April, trenching and conduit installation began. Chugach’s undergrounding, funded by a combination of DOT and Chugach capital projects, is anticipated to be completed late in 2022. The larger O’Malley project is expected to be complete in late 2024.