FAIRBANKS — The Golden Valley Electric Association has halted a study on the costs of buying power from a Colorado company that wants to sell the Fairbanks utility power from new wind turbines and propane generators.
Power utilities can be made to purchase electricity from small renewable energy power producers under a 1978 law called the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act if the small producer can demonstrate that its connection to the grid won’t hurt rate payers.
In December, Colorado-based Eco Green Generation approached both GVEA and Doyon Utilities (which provides power and heat to Interior Alaska military bases) with a request to link a proposed network of wind turbines and propane-burning generators to established utility power grids.
GVEA initially reported it would hire a consultant to study the cost of buying power, ahead of Feb. 27 deadline.
But in an announcement on Thursday, GVEA reported it had halted the study, stating as a reason that Eco Green Generation has not filed paperwork with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission applying to be a “qualified facility” to sell power to a utility.
“We’ve suspended our interconnection study, pending an appropriate response from EGG (Eco Green Generation),” said Cory Borgeson, the president and CEO of GVEA, in a written statement. “These types of filings consume a great deal of staff time and expense borne directly by our members. Before any more time is invested, we want to make sure EGG is a FERC-certified qualifying facility.”
Eco Green has filed an application to state regulators — the Regulatory Commission of Alaska — but according to GVEA, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission doesn’t have a record for their application.
In addition to the paperwork issue, GVEA reported last week that it has environmental concerns with Eco Green’s proposal, specifically the fact that Eco Green proposed burning fossil fuels in Fairbanks and North Pole, potentially worsening pollution problems.
In its proposal, Eco Green states it has a royalty agreement with Delta Junction wind farm owner Mike Craft, who has fought with GVEA for years in an effort to sell the utility power under the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act. GVEA has resisted Craft’s efforts to sell the utility power, arguing that buying power from Craft would be too expensive.
Contact Outdoors Editor Sam Friedman at 459-7545. Follow him on Twitter: @FDNMoutdoors.