Wind power farm on Alaska's Fire Island moves closer to reality

A deal that would allow Cook Inlet Region Inc. to build an electricity-generating wind turbine farm on Fire Island is in the final stages.

The board of Chugach Electric Association, the biggest power utility in Alaska, is scheduled to consider today a proposed contract to buy wind power from CIRI.

"I don't see any problem," Chugach board member Jim Nordlund said Tuesday. The board last week unanimously agreed to terms that make up the deal, he said.

The agreement calls for CIRI to deliver electricity from 11 wind turbines capable of producing a maximum of 17.6 megawatts of power -- about enough to provide electricity to 6,000 households, said Jim Jager, spokesman for CIRI.

The nest of turbines would sit on the southern end of Fire Island, and visible from parts of the Anchorage coast, such as in Kincaid Park. Each turbine would rise some 260 feet with 130-foot blades, according to information on CIRI's web site. The Atwood state office building downtown is just over 260 feet tall.

The 11-turbine wind farm is one-third of the size that CIRI hopes to build eventually.

But at this point, Chugach is the only utility to sign on to buy Fire Island power, so CIRI created a scaled-back the first phase, Jager said.

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