Kodiak Island, Alaska
The Kodiak Islands, off the coast of Alaska are relying on renewable energies exclusively since 2015. The islands moved from importing diesel for electricity to a stable and more cost- effective electricity provision through renewable energies. Initially the alternative energy mix was based on hydropower, but soon different renewable sources were added and storage capacities were equipped, making the energy supply more diverse and flexible.
The board and managers at Kodiak Electric Association (KEA), who lead the project, set a goal of producing 100% of the community’s electrical needs with renewable energy by 2020. This goal was met way ahead of time, as 99.7% of the power for the 15.000 residents of Kodiak Island came from wind and hydropower in 2014.
During the installation of wind turbines challenges due to a lack of knowledge on the stability of voltage and other variables called for a study on grid integration. After this study was conducted, assessing the economic and technical factors, three wind turbines were set up in 2009. The island progressed with carefully assessed steps to increase the share of renewable energies, particularly wind energy in the first years. Through the installation of a smart battery system the storage for small electricity grids the island has an advanced storage method. Learn how the project progressed and peak loads were covered here. Particularly the grid stability was a concern but after it was studied thoroughly capacity was added to the already existing hydroelectric turbine to meet the demand. A positive aspect of the installation is that the maintenance of the other three turbines can be taken care of while the hydroelectric turbines are running and feeding into the supply.
The state of Alaska convened a renewable energy fund by the Alaska Energy Authority in 2008, which serves as a useful tool and enabler of the energy transition of Kodiak Island. Through the cooperation with KEA a total of $ 55.6 million of direct and indirect investment have flown into the development of renewable energies of Kodiak Island.
The island used to import 2.8 million gallons of diesel per year, at an annual cost of $ 7 million, which can now be spent elsewhere and their own economy is strengthened.
In November 2014 the Alaskan Energy Awardees the Alaska Energy Authority and Kodiak Electric Association received the National Clean Energy Award.
“Both the Alaska Energy Authority and the Kodiak Electric Association are putting into practice five principles that I believe are in our national interest, and those are to make energy abundant, affordable, clean, diverse, and secure. Alaskan communities are benefiting from their important efforts and I’m glad the Alliance saw fit to recognize their innovative work.”
The local residents have reduced their carbon dioxide emissions by 62 million pounds per year by switching to renewable energies. The common efforts to switch to flexible renewable energies is a great example for the successful implementation of a community that decided to gear up for a sustainable future. Additionally, Kodiak islands steps ahead in a quick pace, which shows that a short- term shift to renewable energies is possible.
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