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overseen the installation of wind systems across Alaska. According to Garoutte, wind energy has had some great success stories here in Alaska. In November 2007, Susitna Energy Systems worked with the village of Perryville to install 10 wind turbines. The goal of this pilot project was to supplement the village’s diesel usage with wind energy. The system, which was installed, operated and maintained by the local Native people of Perryville has paid for itself in less than three years, according to Groutte. “Interest in renewable energy seems to soar as energy prices increase,” says Garoutte. “Renewable energy is a onetime investment that lasts a lifetime. Sure, there are some significant upfront costs to installing a solar or wind energy system, but that investment will pay for itself in the long run and you will have the advantage of knowing exactly how much your energy will cost you instead of being at the mercy of increasing fuel prices. As fossil fuel prices increase across the state, people will start beating down our doors.” Chris Rose, executive director of Renewable Energy Alaska Project stated that wind energy is very viable in certain areas of Alaska. According to Rose, six to seven years ago there were only two Native villages using wind power to support their diesel generation systems. Since then, that number has grown to 20 Alaska Native villages using wind power. While wind certainly will not work in all areas of the state, according to Kuentzel, the farther you go west in Alaska, the more wind you will find. “Alaska has many micro climates that are suitable for wind and solar energy options.” An extremely successful large scale wind project in Alaska has been the Pillar Mountain Wind Farm located on Kodiak Island. Kodiak Electric Association (KEA) added three 1.5 megawatt wind turbines to their isolated electrical grid system in July 2009. The estimated number of gallons of diesel saved with this additional wind power from July 2009 to January 2012 is 2.3 million gallons or just over $9 million dollars, according to KEA. These large-sized turbines manufactured by General Electric are the first of their size to be installed in the state and are part of • Alaska Business Monthly • April 2012


April - 2012 - Alaska Business Monthly  

Alaska Business Monthly’s 2012 Corporate 100 annual special section begins on page 86. Top citizens of industry are highlighted in this annu...