Financing in hand, construction can start for Fire Island wind farm

Dec 17, 2011
Alex DeMarban
Alaska Dispatch

The largest wind project in Alaska now has the financing to move forward, announced Seattle-based Summit Power Group, LLC and its client, Cook Inlet Region Inc.

In October, CIRI subsidiary Fire Island Wind won approval from the Regulatory Commission of Alaska to move forward with the plan. In its first phase, the project calls for 11 wind turbines to be built on Fire Island in Cook Inlet three miles west of Anchorage.

The wind farm is expected to provide 17.6 megawatts of capacity, replacing mostly natural gas as it supplies 4 percent of Chugach’s power and provides enough electricity for about 6,000 homes, the press release said.

Now that the project has its private-sector money, construction of the turbines and undersea transmission lines can begin. The wind farm is expected to provide power beginning in late 2012. Also key to the project are government subsidies: $25 million from the state and $19 million from the federal government.

The venture is the state’s first major power project owned by an independent power producer. Chugach Electric Association, the largest electric utility in Alaska, will buy the wind power. The wind farm, developed by Summit Power, will be owned and operated by Fire Island Wind, the press release said.

Planners hope the project eventually grows to 33 wind turbines, enough power to meet the needs of more than 17,000 Southcentral Alaska households.