• Wind energy: is there an economy of scale in Alaska?

      Ellanna, Dayne; Lewellyn, Levi; Hulsey, J. Leroy; Perkins, Robert; Whitaker, Keith (2015)
      The purpose of this project is to show the cost relationship per kilowatt hour (kWh) between small scale (< 25kWh), medium scale (> 25 kWh and < 100 kWh), and large scale (> 100kWh) wind turbines. Our analysis will compare the cost per kWh and identify the economy of scale between our custom small scale models to commercial models. The commercial models used for this project were installed by Golden Valley Electric Association (GVEA) at their Healy, Alaska wind farm. We requested their wind data, capital investment breakdown, and their operations and maintenance costs. This data will be compared to the costs and wind data associated with our custom built wind turbine. Wind energy is dependent on one major variable, the wind. Regardless of the wind turbine size, wind speed, frequency, and duration will affect the efficiency of every wind turbine. Commercial wind farms are new to Alaska. The first major wind power project in Alaska was in 1997 in Kotzebue. This wind farm, of 17 wind turbines, represents the first megawatt of wind power in Alaska. Installation and maintenance of these systems is more expensive in Alaska due to the states' remoteness. Small scale systems used in this study are custom built because small scale commercial systems are not "hardy" enough to withstand Alaska's harsh weather systems. Both medium and large scale systems, for this study, are commercially constructed systems that have been designed to withstand these harsh conditions.