Hydro power from CVEA expands in Valdez and Copper Basin
Allison Creek run of the river projects increases renewable energy in area
Valdez Star photo
A look inside the new Allison Creek hydro plant last week shows CVEA's new power generation project, which came online recently
Copper Valley Electric Association says its members are due a congratulatory note : you now own a new hydroelectric plant.
The move came last Wednesday when the board president Paul Kildal flipped a ceremonial switch, bringing the long-anticipated Allison Creek project online.
Gov. Bill Walker, and Sen. John Coghill attended the dedication ceremony Wednesday, along with current and former board members, and representatives from the Cooperative Bank that help finance the project, and other local dignitaries.
Walker, fresh off of a trip to Asia where he was touting Alaska's LNG for future markets, said the project was the best he had seen after attending four other hydro-project openings in Alaska.
The project came in at a cost of approximately $55 million. Grants covered $23,288,000, and CVEA paid over $600,000 in cash. The balance is borrow from the Cooperative Bank, a debt that must be repaid by the cooperative.
According to CVEA, the new project, which is not a dam, but does utilize the diverted waters of Allison Creek.
Plans for the project began as early as 2007 according to CVEA officials. While nine years may seem like a long time, it is very fast in the world of power and energy, which are highly regulated on the city, state and federal level according to COO Travis Million.
The benefits to CVEA's membership is large according to the cooperative's website.
Valdez Star photo
Gov. Bill Walker, center, was on hand and received an honorary key to the facility from CVEA board president Paul Kildal, left, and COO Travis Million, right.
• In a normal water year, CVEA will produce approximately 44 million kWhs out of Solomon Gulch and 15 million kWh's out of Allison Creek making hydro 59 million kWhs on CVEA's system, or 64 percent of our power generation requirement.
• As CVEA produces fewer kWh's with fuel, this results in reduced emissions. Under this scenario, CVEA will reduce fuel gallons by 725,000. At $60/barrel, this equates to a 1.7 million dollar savings. The fixed annual costs of Allison is $2.4 million. In a normal water level year, the cost to members would be $714,500. That number divided by the 80 million kWh's CVEA sells, equates to a .89 cent cost per kWh.
• In a low water year we are able to utilize more Allison power thus reducing more gallons of diesel, further reducing emissions and saving more fuel dollars.
Allison is capable of producing 23 million kWhs annually.
"If we can find a market for the surplus energy, savings to customers can be increased further," CVEA said.