In our last posting viewer cat_train2 asked the simple question of what is the cost per kilowatt hour to the ratepayer for the proposed wind power.
The simple answer is 9.7 cents.
Assuming cat_train2 and others would like some context, here goes:
Currently Chugach Electric Association, CEA, uses power from dammed water sources in both Homer and Eklutna as well as a few other small sources in between.
Their cost of that energy is between 3 and 4 cents for the same kilowatt hour.
Their current cost using natural gas is 6.5 to 7 cents per kwh.
Apparently there are a few other small generators of power which cost CEA more than 9.7 cents but that volume is statistically insignificant.
So, to someone with blinders allowing no side vision or much forward sight, wind turbine power does not make sense.
Reality though demands we lift our heads and look into the near future.
Doing so reveals a much different picture.
CEA now uses approximately 90% non-renewable energy and 10% renewable, which is the hydo power.
Since renewable water power is by far the least expensive, why not switch to that completely?
The existing infrastructure includes limited sources of water power which are both permitted and actually built.
CEA, and other electric utilities, are looking at other sources of alternative hydro power but they are not available today. We will explore those later in this blog.
CEA has as a goal to switch the 90% non-renewalable, 10% renewable around to 10%-90%. Wind turbine power is a small step in that direction.
CEA is a member owned utility and must be responsive to the demands of its' members.
Nearly evryone wants more environmentally beneficial methods of generating electricity. But it has to be at least as cheap as what we are used to. How to reconcile these demands?
Context and visualizing the near, medium, and long term future of the costs of power is largely up to the elected board members.
CEA has administraters who are experts are putting financial numbers, political probabilities, and much other relevant data into a crystal ball and coming up with a conservative prediction of the future.
Board members use this vision to guide their decisions.
That vision sees 7 years from now the costs of other power will be more than the current 9.7 cents/kwh of wind turbine power from Fire Island.
Cook Inlet Region Inc.(CIRI) has proposed building and owning the wind turbines and selling the power to CEA at the same price for the next 25 years.
Thus the small additional cost of $1.67 for wind power added to the typical residental bill of $104.19 will decrease as the costs of gas increase.
The rational prediction is that the currently higher cost of wind power decreases and totally vanishes at year seven.
For the remaining 18 years of the CIRI/MEA contract the level, or fixed, cost of Fire Island wind power is less and saves the ratepayer money.
Stay tuned to more discussion of alternative energy, reversing climate change, food security and social justice.