Fire Island wind project construction underway

Fire Island Wind LLC is moving forward on construction of Southcentral Alaska’s first utility-scale wind farm, located three miles west of Anchorage on Fire Island.

“The Fire Island Wind Project is making exciting progress,” said Ethan Schutt, CIRI senior vice president of land and energy development. “We have restarted our on-island construction, and most of the large turbine components have arrived here in Anchorage.
We’re reaching a stage of development where we can finally see the physical signs that have resulted from years of tireless pre-development work.”

The components of the 11 1.6-megawatt General Electric wind turbines making up the first phase of the wind farm arrived in late April and early May at the Port of Anchorage. This includes tower sections, blades, hubs and nacelles that will be stored at the port until delivery to Fire Island.

Mobilization of construction equipment and work crews to Fire Island began in early April, and is ongoing. Road construction and construction of the overhead section of the new power transmission line on the island will be occurring in the next couple of months. The transmission line will connect the wind farm to the Railbelt electric grid.

The double-circuit 34.5-kV transmission line will be submerged from the island to its mainland landing near Point Campbell, where it will run both above and below ground along the southern boundary of Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport to a Chugach Electric Association (CEA) substation near Minnesota Drive and International Airport Road. CEA will own the completed transmission line. The submarine section of the transmission line will be installed in the next couple months.

The turbines will arrive on Fire Island mid-summer. After they are transported across the island and erected, Fire Island Wind will complete the control and transmission systems. Turbine testing, on-island civil and electrical construction, project cleanup and demobilization will occur in fall 2012. CEA has a 25-year power purchase agreement and will begin receiving power from the Fire Island wind farm after turbine commissioning.