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Fairbanks company to test wind energy in Delta Junction

Posted: Friday, March 28, 2008

ANCHORAGE - A Fairbanks-based company is working to prove that a location in Delta Junction is ideal for a wind farm to add electricity into the Alaska Railbelt grid.

Alaska Environmental Power LLC received a grant from the Denali Commission to buy a generator to test a wind generation farm that will be located on a knoll overlooking Delta Junction.

Distributed Energy Systems will provide Alaska Environmental a turbine. The company's developer has tested the location, wrote a business plan for the wind generation farm and is working to move ahead.

"This is something that my brother and I have been working on for a while," said Mike Craft, developer and managing partner at Alaska Environmental.

A Northwind 100 turbine will be delivered to a proposed 320-acre wind farm located in Delta Junction for installation this summer. The company's ultimate vision is to supply 15 megawatts of clean, renewable power from this location to the Railbelt grid in Alaska.

"Our intent is to build our facility around Northwind turbines," Craft said.

He noted that recommendations from current Northwind 100 users and a six-month delivery availability were important drivers to his final decision to purchase.

"Distributed Energy Systems has already earned a reputation for quality and reliability," he said. "This made my job of sourcing turbines a lot easier."

Craft also noted that the generators were the only ones rated for use down to minus 50 degrees Fahrenheit, and that they generate 2.3 megawatts of power. The company has been monitoring the area with a 160-foot meteorology tower, and has found good winds from two directions, Craft said.

"That's important. You want smooth dense wind, not turbulent, gusty winds. That's the worst thing for a wind generator," he said.

Alaska Environmental Power intends to make use of various federal tax credits and incentives regarding developing wind power. The company has applied for a grant from the Denali Commission, which, in conjunction with the Alaska Energy Authority, has developed a program to promote the development of renewable energy resources in Alaska.

With 100 kilowatts of rated power, the Northwind 100 was originally designed for use in remote wind-diesel applications. It has more recently been released as an alternative power generator for grid-connected customers, such as small businesses, commercial farms, small communities, schools and universities, and small corporate and industrial sites, according to the Northwind Co.

The turbine uses a gearless, direct-drive architecture and permanent magnet power generation to deliver reliability and high-energy capture for renewable energy into a grid with traditional electrical generation.



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