A wind turbine project three miles off the coast of Anchorage, Fire Island Wind supplies clean, renewable energy to approximately 7,000 homes in southcentral Alaska. The project is owned by Fire Island Wind LLC, a CIRI company. Operations began in 2012. In 2016, thanks to favorable wind conditions, Fire Island produced record-high energy output: 55,580 megawatt hours (MWh), up from 50,170 in 2015 and 47,470 in 2014.
For 2016, energy production was 8.6 percent above budget while operating expenses were 5.3 percent below budget. “In addition to better-than-expected energy production, we saved money on operating costs since many of the items we had budgeted for didn’t require maintenance,” said CIRI’s Suzanne Settle, senior director, Energy Development.
Wind turbines automatically stop producing power if the monitoring computer system senses a potential mechanical problem. In 2016, there was only one such stoppage, causing the project to lose a mere 285 MWh (one-half of 1 percent) of energy. This statistic demonstrates the impressive response time of CIRI’s operational staff in troubleshooting issues and quickly returning turbines to service.
Through a long-term power purchase agreement with Anchorage utility Chugach Electric Association, Fire Island Wind eliminates up to 500 million cubic feet of natural gas consumption annually. For more information, visit www.fireislandwind.com.