renewable energy

Rashah McChesney/Alaska Energy Desk

The Alaska Industrial Development and Energy Authority, or AIDEA, is a state-owned corporation that focuses on economic projects meant to create jobs and diversify the state’s economy. It uses its own revolving fund to generate loans and fund projects, meaning it doesn’t draw funding out of the state unrestricted general fund, which the Legislature allocates for the budget every year.

Companies have been dreaming about turning Cook Inlet’s tides into energy for years. The inlet has the largest tides in the country and some of the largest in the world.

This summer, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is doing a study on Cook Inlet’s tides to learn more about what the resource looks like and how it can best be harnessed.

Homer’s Levi Kilcher is working on that study. He joined us on this week's Kenai Conversation to talk about the study and about Cook Inlet's tidal potential.

Photo Cyrus Read/Alaska Volcano Observatory/U.S. Geological Survey

Two companies are looking at the geothermal energy potential of Mount Spurr, a volcano about 40 miles west of Tyonek in Cook Inlet.

Once they have the final go-ahead from the state, GeoAlaska and Raser Power Systems can explore adjacent leases on the south side of the volcano.

 


Sabine Poux/KDLL

Cook Inlet has long been a hotbed of oil and gas development in Alaska.

But for years, renewable energy advocates have been eyeing another Cook Inlet resource — tides. The inlet has some of the largest tides in the world but their energy potential has remained untapped.

One company is trying to change that, and says it could have a generator in the water in the next three years.


Homer Electric Association has seen a sharp increase in the number of its members wanting to hook up their own renewable energy setups into the grid this summer, and is planning to ask the state Regulatory Commission to increase how much renewable energy it can buy back from them.

This summer alone, central peninsula residents have installed more than 140 kilowatts’ of solar panel capacity, with more planned for Homer. That adds to the number of people who already had renewable energy capacity at their homes or businesses who can generate their own energy and feed some back into HEA’s grid when they make too much. At the same time, they can also draw off the grid when it’s not sunny enough for their panels or not windy enough for a wind turbine.

Alaska’s midnight sun is going to work for more peninsula residents as they install more and more solar panels.

The Solarize the Kenai campaign kicked off this summer, offering discounts to people who wanted to install solar panels on their homes or businesses. The campaign, headed up by community action group Kenai Change, brought residents together to ask for bids from solar installers so they could get a bargain group rate on the panels before installing them.

Kaitlin Vadla, with Cook Inletkeeper, and Mark Haller, owner of the solar installation business Midnight Sun Solar, joined the Kenai Conversation on Jan. 29 to talk about Solarize the Kenai, an initative to instal solar panels on homes and businesses on the central Kenai Penisula for a reduced rate.

For more information about the program, visit http://kenaichange.org/solarize-the-kenai/
 

 

HEA seeing interest in adding solar to power mix

Aug 21, 2018

Seventy-two years ago electricity in Homer started flowing from a 75,000 watt diesel generator, supplying power to 56 members who had come together to form the Homer Electric Association.

Today, there are a few more customers throughout the Kenai Peninsula and 80-million watts of electricity coming from a variety of sources, which still includes diesel. But the member-owned co-op has added hydroelectric, natural gas turbines and recovered heat generation.

Now, the board is looking at adding solar-electric.