RCA Rules in Favor of GVEA in Delta Wind Farm Case

Press Release: February 20, 2018

FAIRBANKS – The Regulatory Commission of Alaska (RCA) has resolved all regulatory issues relating to Delta Wind Farm, Inc.’s (DWF’s) request to interconnect and sell energy from its proposed 13.5-megawatt wind generating facility in Delta Junction to Golden Valley Electric Association, Inc. ("GVEA").

The RCA agreed that a power sales agreement with DWF would lead to higher electric bills. DWF had argued that GVEA should be forced to purchase power from its proposed wind farm under the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act ("PURPA").

Wind energy is variable and requires backup from power plants that burn fossil fuels. GVEA’s evaluation and modeling showed that putting more wind power into the grid would have significantly increased GVEA’s fuel and maintenance costs and would have jeopardized reliability.

"In the final analysis, the cost of integrating DWF’s proposed wind project far exceeded the benefits," said Cory Borgeson, GVEA President & CEO. "Our members would have been economically disadvantaged as a result."

The RCA’s report went further: "Unless DWF agrees to pay GVEA $0.16 per kWh to take DWF power (which we do not expect it to do), GVEA’s ratepayers will be subjected to higher costs if GVEA takes power from DWF".

"We are pleased with the Commission’s ruling, particularly that GVEA acted in good faith in complying with the RCA’s regulations and the reasonableness of the modeling presented by the co-op in establishing the rate to be paid for energy from DWF’s proposed project," Borgeson said. "The Commission’s ruling underscores the fact that under PURPA, a utility such as GVEA is not required to purchase energy from qualifying facilities if such purchases would adversely impact the co-op’s ratepayers".

"We will continue to work with independent power producers to integrate more renewable power into our system – as long as we can keep our members’ costs low and maintain system reliability," Borgeson said.

Among Railbelt co-ops, Golden Valley produces the highest percentage of renewable energy. GVEA is able to generate up to 20 percent of its peak load from renewable sources, including the Eva Creek Wind Farm (25 MW), Bradley Lake Hydro (20 MW) and 199 SNAP Renewable Energy Producers (1 MW).

To read the RCA's Final Order in its entirety, click here.

Note: This article was picked up by North American Windpower. To read that article, click here.

GVEA Interested in the Effects of Anchorage Utility Sale

Press Release: Feb 12, 2018

FAIRBANKS – Golden Valley Electric Association (GVEA) is among several entities to submit a Letter of Interest in connection with the prospective Anchorage Municipal Light & Power (ML&P) sale.

GVEA’s letter was not a formal offer to purchase the utility.

In the letter, Golden Valley expressed an interest in evaluating a potential purchase. The Fairbanks-based co-op sought to better understand the possibilities and implications that the ML&P sale presents to both GVEA and the Railbelt electrical system.

ML&P is GVEA’s largest supplier of economical gas-fired energy. In 2017, Golden Valley purchased approximately $21 million worth of electricity from ML&P. This economy power saves Interior ratepayers millions of dollars annually on their electric bills.

GVEA and ML&P both own a share of the Bradley Lake Hydroelectric Project (GVEA owns 17%; ML&P owns 25%). GVEA is interested in preserving the structure and reallocation of ML&P’s share of Bradley Lake Hydro power, which has a positive effect on the co-op’s ability to site additional renewable energy sources on our system.

"GVEA has a significant interest in understanding and monitoring the potential sale of the ML&P utility, and GVEA’s letter of interest provided access to necessary information," said Cory Borgeson, President & CEO.

In addition to the letter of interest from GVEA, ML&P received similar letters from other utilities. At this juncture, ML&P has elected to proceed forward with sale negotiations with Chugach Electric (CEA).

"While CEA is an excellent utility, it’s important that GVEA participate in ongoing discussions to ensure that the best interest of GVEA members and the benefits of the Railbelt system as a whole are considered during negotiations," Borgeson said.

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