Fire Island lying just offshore from Anchorage is poised for remarkable alternative energy projects.
The reasons are at least twofold. The massive Anchorage energy market is within swimming distance and the Alaska Legislature funded an expensive transmission line from the island to the mainland electrical line.
Regardless of how electrical energy is produced at Fire Island it will now be able to find its' way to market.
In addition to the CIRI (Cook Inlet Regional Inc.)/CEA (Chugach Electric Association) proposal to capture 4% of Chugachs' electricity from the first eleven of CIRIs' planned thirty three wind turbines on Fire Island, there is a plan to harvest tidal power from the waters flowing back and forth around the island.
Upper Cook Inlet, you might remember, has the second highest tides in North America, beat out only by the Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia in eastern Canada.
Tidal power has some advantage over the Yakutat wave motion or CIRI wind power in that it is totally predictable. We can determine precisely what power the incoming and outgoing tides will bring to Fire Island on any given day twenty years from now.
Wind power is far less predictable while ocean wave power is somewhere in between the two. The more unpredictable that alternative energy is, the more redundancy needs to be built into the system.
Wind energy is calculated at almost three times the requirement to power the same number of homes as is a more steady source.
Typically one megawatt of power plant capacity is sufficient to energize 1,000 homes. When relying on wind generated electricity the number of typical homes calculated to be served by that megawatt of power is only about 350.
Stay tuned as this blog tries to sort out the language and definitions necessary to understand the apples and oranges comparison of conventional versus alternative energy.
We have talked with CIRI personnel who have helped us greatly in sorting out the ways of comparing one to the other.
Enthusiastic alternative energy proponents are mandatory to help us steer away from nearly total reliance on petro fuel.
Emotional and philosophical arguments are better served by proponents who also understand the steely cold facts behind the drama. We hope to help in that ongoing conversation.
Our near term plan is to open discussion about details regarding the proposed local wind turbines as well as capturing adjacent tidal power.
Our blog is rooted in sustainable farm foods which is the basis of the three highly related modern social concerns.
Food Security, Climate Change, and Alternative Energy are the big three. Stay with us, see the interconnectiveness, and contribute to the discussion.
As a bonus you may see how these three lead to Global Social Justice and how that affects you wherever in Alaska you live.