Eyak, Native Village of - 2010 Project

Project Overview
Tribe/Awardee: Eyak, Native Village of
Location: Cordova, AK
Project Title: Wind Energy Resource Assessment on Alaska Native Lands in Cordova Region of Prince William Sound
Type of Application: Feasibility
DOE Grant Number: DE-EE0002517
Project Amounts:
DOE: $248,107
Awardee: $29,440
Total: $277,547
Project Status: See project status
Project Period
of Performance:
Start: April 2010
End: July 2012

Summary

The Native Village of Eyak will conduct a Wind Energy Resource Assessment on Alaska Native Lands in the Cordova Region of Prince William Sound. Native Village of Eyak (NVE) will conduct a four-year project to implement a wind energy program in cooperation with Cordova Electric Cooperative (CEC), with near-term emphasis on completing the feasibility analysis and transitioning into full project design and permitting. Funding for construction/implementation phase will be addressed by the management team in the later stages of this project, outside of this grant.

By conducting a wind feasibility study, Cordova will be one step closer to the overall goal of harnessing this abundant renewable energy source. A wind energy project will be very beneficial to the community, especially in the winter months, where diesel generators are the only present source of electricity and wind speeds are typically higher. In the summer months, additional low-cost generating capacity will allow for greater economic development in the region.

Project Description

Background

The cost of energy in Cordova is a burden to NVE tribal members and the community at large. In the summer, electricity costs are twice the rates in Anchorage. This disparity climbs to five times the regular rate in the winter months as streams freeze up and hydroelectric generation stops. Home heating oil and transportation fuel costs are twice as high because the products must be barged in.

At the same time, the Cordova region has natural potential sources of energy, including hydroelectric, wind, biomass, fish waste, and tidal energy. The tribe's vision is that some day in the near future, Cordova's energy supplies can be generated with resources that are all local to the region. Achieving this goal will allow the forests and salmon to thrive and, in turn, better provide for economic and cultural prosperity of the tribe's world-class fishing industry.

Wind power alone will not achieve the ultimate goal of harnessing power in the region but it is a key component along with the other focus areas of increasing the community's hydroelectric capabilities and generating heat and electricity from the its waste streams. Completion of this feasibility project will help secure funding for the construction of this project through Alaska state assistance, loans, and additional federal funding. Implementation of this and other energy projects will allow for additional energy-related jobs, keeping more of the dollars spent on utility bills in the community.

Because the Cordova region is isolated from the rail-belt power grid and the road system, the community has very few current options for meeting its energy needs. Hydroelectricity, diesel-generated electricity, home-heating oil, gasoline, propane, and a modest amount of wood heat meet the electrical, heating, and transportation needs of the community.

Before 1991, when low-cost diesel fuel, low diesel shipping and storage costs abounded, Cordova relied solely on diesel fuel for generation of electricity. Subsequent increases in fuel costs and increasingly higher environmental standards for air quality, along with fuel transport and storage issues, prompted construction of the Humpback Creek Hydroelectric Project. The project provided 15% to 20% of Cordova's annual power needs.

Coal-fired generation and natural gas resources, along with the potential for tidal power, were studied and determined to be infeasible. The Power Creek site was selected and successfully developed as the second run-of-river hydroelectric project for the community in 2001. Conservation has been identified as the other existing energy "resource" and is being aggressively implemented by CEC internally and externally to the community in the transportation, heating, and electricity sectors. Conservation and efficiency will free existing energy supply resources and offset the need to develop additional generation assets. A dam storage project is currently under preliminary analysis by Cordova Electric Cooperative at CEC expense.

Project Objectives

The wind energy program will 1) complete the Camp Hill wind farm project design and permits, 2) improve wind data maps through a mobile 10-meter anemometer tower project , 3) initiate a wind farm pilot project and a marine-based pilot project, 4) drive community involvement and education, 5) adopt best-known methods from other successful wind projects, 6) determine whether the wind farm will be built and operated by Native Village of Eyak or Cordova Electric Coop, and 7) set the stage for construction and implementation. The project will provide low-cost electricity for all members of the Cordova Electric Cooperative power grid.

Scope

The project is broken down into the following focus areas:

  • Improving wind data maps—NVE currently has a 30-meter tower near Pt. Whitshed on Camp Hill (Eyak Corporation land) that has anemometers at 10, 20, and 30 meters above ground level. NVE and CEC will purchase mobile remote 10-meter anemometer kits to verify Alaska Energy Authority–provided wind maps of the region. All 10-meter data can be referenced to the 10-meter data at the Camp Hill 30-meter tower.
  • Learning from other existing wind projects—No project should be developed in a vacuum. CEC/NVE has been invited to observe the Kodiak Pillar Mountain installation, which closely matches the terrain and climate of Cordova. The program director also has access to visit several wind farms in Colorado. Best-known methods will be used from each of these sites.
  • Public education and awareness—Cordova Renewable Energy Workgroup (CREW) meetings continue to be open to the public and will host additional wind program updates in the community.
  • Camp Hill wind farm project design and permitting—including road, grid extension, ownership/operation decision (CEC or NVE), power sharing agreement, installation (crane access, soil report, foundation requirements), turbine model/size selection, environmental and avian impact studies, delivery logistics, and long-term service and support.
  • Construct and implementation—Will occur in years three and four of the project, after the completion of this feasibility study. Rough estimates of turbine purchase, installation, and operation costs will be developed.

Project Location

The Native Village of Eyak lies in the Copper River Delta and Prince William Sound region, the northern-most rainforest on North America's West Coast. The project is located at Camp Hill near Wireless Point, approximately seven miles south of Cordova, Alaska. Camp Hill is enclosed within the Hartney Bay Subdivision, being developed by Eyak Corporation. All the sites being considered are owned fee simple by Eyak Corporation through the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA).

Project Status

The project was competitively selected under the Tribal Energy Program's fiscal year 2009 funding opportunity announcement, "Assessing the Feasibility of Renewable Energy Development and Energy Efficiency Deployment on Tribal Lands," and started in April 2010.

The November 2009 and November 2011  project status reports provide more information.

For current project status or additional information, please contact the project contacts.

Project Contact

Angela Arnold
PO Box 1388
Cordova, AK 99574
907-424-7738
angela@nveyak.org

Autumn L. Bryson
PO Box 1388
Cordova, AK 99574
907-424-7738
abryson@nveyak.org