Researcher Profile Silvija Gradečak
    USA Move to Penalize Free/Renewable Energy Freeriders

    The pioneering and independent spirit shines through in this story by Chris Hunter from Alaska


    Pillar Mountain Wind Project on Kodiak Island

    The following story was in response to our story “USA Move to Penalize Free/Renewable Energy Freeriders

    There is a clear loophole, but it only exists for those that first and foremost give a damn. It is called a “co-op” and they are very powerful if done properly.In Alaska we have power coops for electric generation and distribution. As an isolated society which is not affected entirely too much by outside influences in terms of economy and infrastructure because the only things connecting us to the rest of the world are a fiber-optic hard connected cable and a strip of paved road.

    If the power goes out in the 48 States of America due to a system wide failure then we are not affected because our meager power grid is not connected to it.


    CO-OP and Infrastructure

    chris Hunter

    Chris Hunter

    In terms of our co-op power and infrastructure- we are directly billed for the use of, maintenance of, expansion of, taxation of, and ownership of the hardware that is the actual infrastructure delivery system. We each own a small percentage of it and as a collective group we are afforded the buying power to secure long term fixing of pricing on fuel to run the turbines. This is nothing new.

    Golden Valley Electric (GVEA) has built large wind farms in Clear and Healy to feed the power grid at the behest of the owners of the coop which are the actual end use “customers” of the system. The owners of the coop also own the coal mine in Healy to fuel the system.

    On Kodiak Island, the people there previously had 100% of their electrical power demands fueled by Diesel and were at the direct mercy of instability of pricing (6,000 people) as well as fuel shortages from bad weather in relation to the delivery of fuel to the island. They surveyed the mountains and hatched a plan. Kodiak Electric (KEA) decided to build 3 wind turbines (1 megawatt each) on the mountain because it had constant 40-70 mph wind from the thermal anomalies that made up that particular spot. In the planning stages the EPA stepped in and told them they would not be allowed to do build it. KEA’s response: “Go F— yourselves.” They built the turbines and by October of 2011 the wind power plus the hydroelectric of Buskin Lake had comprised 96% of the power requirements for the island. On a select few winter days without wind, the diesel powerplant is fired up. On my most recent visit of October 2012, I noted 3 more turbines of 1 Megawatt apiece had been added to the same mountain.

    If a group of isolated people in the middle of nowhere with limited resources and unlimited determination can do this, then there is absolutely no reason why your article would ever present an actual problem.

    It all comes down to attitude. We do not accept any corporation telling us “what we want” because we know what we want and it normally has nothing to do with some corporate entity.Personally, I live in Fox- a little area north of Fairbanks- and the wind doesn’t blow here but about 7 days per year and at about 25-35 miles per hour. Wind turbines are not applicable and solar PV doesn’t make sense because in winter you have no sunlight and in summer its 24 hours of sunlight but nobody really stays indoors consuming power so that is a bust. I opted for infrared spectrum solar thermal heat collectors. Heat is worth far more than light. It is truly amazing how much light comes from a single candle.
    Again that comes down to me being personally proactive and responsible for myself and my well being and my secure future.

    -Chris Hunter
    Fox, Alaska, 99709

    Researcher Profile Silvija Gradečak
    USA Move to Penalize Free/Renewable Energy Freeriders
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