communities via a twenty-five-kilovolt
line. Button says the intertie project was
53 percent complete in late March, with
a target completion date of late April
and commissioning estimated for June.
He estimated the roughly ten-mile intertie project would cost about $34 million. Anchorage-based construction
company STG, Inc. is doing the work.
Because residents of the four communities receive subsidies from the state’s
PCE (Power Cost Equalization) program, Kohler says it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly how much their monthly
bills will be reduced after the intertie
projects are completed.
The savings will likely go mostly to
the state’s share of the bill, Button says.
“If our costs go down by ten cents
[per kilowatt-hour], people’s bills don’t
go down that much, because the Power
Cost Equalization offset is less,” he says.
“Who does benefit is the commercial
interests in the communities because
they don’t receive the PCE offset.”
Button adds that AVEC generally
pegs the savings to the utility of retiring
outdated power generation facilities at
about $140,000 per year. But that num-
ber doesn’t include the added yearly
maintenance and operational costs for
the new line.
Wind In, Tank Farm Complete,
Power Plant Is Next
A new bulk fuel tank farm, a key piece
of the project to link Emmonak and
Alakanuk, was completed last year in
Emmonak, Button says. The tanks are
currently supplying fuel to the community’s 2. 4 megawatt power plant,
but AVEC plans to finish construction
of a new 3. 2 megawatt power plant in
March 2016 and connect the new tank
farm to the newly commissioned plant
while retiring the old plant.
The project will also tie in four one
hundred kilowatt wind turbines that
are currently supplying Emmonak with
The approximately ten-mile intertie between Emmonak and Alakanuk
is complete, Button says, and the new
3. 2 megawatt power plant already has
a foundation. When the first barge arrives in the community in the spring, it
will carry the supplies needed to begin
construction of the plant, he says.
AVEC is also working on an intertie project between New Stuyahok and
Ekwok, but Button says the cooperative
doesn’t currently have enough funding
to build that intertie.
That project includes a new tank
farm in New Stuyahok, a relocated 1.36
megawatt power plant in that community, and a plan to retire a thirty-year-old plant in Ekwok, in addition to the
approximately eight-mile line connecting the two communities.
The design phase of the project is
65 percent complete, Button says, and
AVEC is pursuing additional funding.
He says the cooperative is also working
with a construction company to analyze the design to see if there might be
ways to reduce project costs.
It’s a lot of work for the busy utility, but
Kohler says it will pay off eventually.
“Building grids is complicated and
expensive. If you do one every three to
four years, you’re thrilled to have accomplished that,” Kohler says. R
Freelance journalist Rindi White
writes from Palmer.