Our Renewable Energy

Kotzebue Electric Association (KEA) has been on the cutting edge of using renewable energy since the early 1990s.

Wind Power

  • 1997 – KEA started generating wind power, using some of the first generation “utility-scale” wind turbines
    • Those wind turbines have been used beyond their useful service lives
    • Finding parts for repairs is becoming increasingly difficult
  • Today – Current generation wind turbines are more efficient, more reliable, and easier to maintain
  • Our wind energy displaces 250,000 to 300,000 gallons of diesel fuel every year (that’s about 20% of annual power needs)

State of Alaska Renewable Energy Fund

  • 2012 – With funding through the State of Alaska Renewable Energy Fund, KEA was able to install:
    • 2 EWT 900 kilowatt (kW) direct drive wind turbines
    • A 1 megawatt (MW)/1 megawatt-hour (MWh) lithium-ion battery
    • Beneficial electrification heating for some public facilities
  • The EWT turbines have performed well and the battery provides the reserve power needed for a more reliable power source for Kotzebue
  • We also provide excess renewable power to the local hospital for heating, saving about 25,000 gallons of heating fuel per year

Our Renewable Energy Goals

  • KEA has set a goal of producing 50% of its electrical energy from renewable resources in the next 5 years
  • We will be able to achieve this goal by increasing the capacity of renewable energy generation and energy storage capacity
  • By achieving 50% renewable power generation and enabling renewable electric heating, federal facilities in Kotzebue will be able to meet federal mandates for clean energy sources
  • Currently, the NPS (“Green Parks Plan”), USFWS, FAA, USAF, NWS, BLM and USPS have facilities in Kotzebue
  • There are 4 federal guidelines for renewable energy projects
  • The Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EP Act 2005) sets the primary renewable energy requirements for federal agencies, and the other 3 guidelines build on EP Act 2005
  • According to EP Act 2005, the federal government’s renewable energy consumption must be 7.5% or more of total electric energy consumption by Fiscal Year 2013 and every year thereafter
  • The renewable energy work of KEA will help our federal partners reach and exceed their federal mandates

Benefits of Renewable Energy

  • Affordable energy is vital to sustain and grow remote communities
  • Producing more energy from renewable resources makes our community more affordable, resilient and sustainable for the long term
  • Displacement of 50% of diesel dependency will significantly reduce costs to:
    • KEA members, by reducing home electrical bills
    • Operational costs of Kotzebue businesses and facilities, including those of the State of Alaska and the U.S. government
  • With diesel fuel averaging $5 per gallon locally, KEA’s renewable power represents significant savings for our community

Our Plan

KEA will continue to work toward utilizing and integrating more renewable energy sources to produce electricity for our members.

In order to meet our goals, KEA needs to upgrade and expand its existing system by:

With this enhanced and expanded system, KEA is anticipating that in warmer months there will be days when no fossil fuels are used at all for power generation.