Cook Inlet Region Incorporate’s much touted Fire Island wind turbine project currently faces an uncertain future. That’s why this week CIRI is turning to the public, particularly those people concerned about their monthly electricity bills.
When, or perhaps, if completed, the Fire Island project would boast of 33 wind turbines producing the equivalent electricity to supply 17-thousand homes in South Central Alaska. That’s roughly three and a half of the region’s electrical need. The project is designed to be an initial step in lessening the area’s dependence on natural gas.
The construction process has remained on schedule. This summer crews cleared the project area and this fall they’ll work on the turbine foundation areas. But the contract timeline with four electrical utilities is stumbling. CIRI, which is developing the Fire Island Wind Turbine project and has spent 7 million dollars in private investment, had hoped to have those contracts already approved. It hasn’t happened. CIRI’s Senior Director of Energy Development, Suzanne Gibson, describes the looming deadlines.
Len Anderson, KSKA – Anchorage