June 2018 Back Page – A Message From Meera:Posted: June 2, 2018
Now that we are in June, we are in the busiest time of the year. Most of our communities will receive their first diesel fuel delivery this month. I wish I had good news about the price of fuel, but unfortunately, the world oil market has been significantly higher than a year ago and we will be seeing that change through more expensive fuel. Of course, that translates to more expensive electricity, likely as much as 5 cents a kilowatt-hour or more.
For most residential consumers, the impact of a higher fuel charge will be small. Unfortunately, the higher cost of energy is being felt in urban Alaska as well. The cost of a kilowatt-hour in Anchorage, Fairbanks and Juneau has risen from 17.58 cents last year to 19.02 cents this year. As a result, the PCE “floor” has risen, resulting in a lower PCE rate in rural communities. That change will be reflected in next month’s electric bills.
Construction activities have already hit high gear. We are installing two 900-kilowatt-hour wind turbines in Bethel and St. Mary’s this summer. We also are building the intertie between Mountain Village and St. Mary’s this fall, so the wind energy from the new turbine can power both communities as well as Pitka’s Point. A new tank farm is being installed in St. Mary’s next year, so that eventually it will be the primary generating station for the three communities. We are designing a backup generator for Pitka’s Point as part of this family of projects.
In addition to the wind turbine in Bethel, a lot of activity is underway in preparation to serve the new clinic for YKHC. In anticipation of the greatly increased heating load, we have installed a new heat recovery module to isolate the plant cooling system from the heat circulation loop, which significantly reduces a vulnerability in the system. We are designing a significant generation upgrade to meet the electrical needs of the new clinic and a major housing expansion for YKHC.
The major project in Teller is nearing completion, and our new tank farm will receive fuel later this summer. A new power plant and tank farm in Togiak will be completed this year and will also receive fuel this fall. While we are building our tank farm, we are also building tank farms for the city and the Native Corporation in Togiak. The Alaska Energy Authority is installing an intertie to connect Twin Hills to Togiak in anticipation of that community joining the AVEC family. That project is expected to begin late in 2018 and will not be completed until 2020.
Construction on a new tank farm in Holy Cross will begin this year and should be complete by the summer of 2019. Eek and Huslia will both have their distribution systems upgraded from single phase to three phase. Several generator replacements are planned across the state, and fencing will be installed at several sites. We have begun a phased upgrade to the distribution system in Yakutat—a process to which we have committed $250,000 a year for the next five years.
We hope that you have a good summer and a bountiful harvest season.
Until next time,