EPA Not Today

Written by Chris Hunter

I had a wonderful experience wintering over in Kodiak from November 2011 to March or 2012. I had just suffered a life changing medical event, permanent hearing loss, and adjusting to life as a Deaf person was quite the ordeal. Kodiak is, and will likely remain, a very nice community filled with exceptional people that I’ve seldom found anywhere else on this planet.   Their resolve to stand together and work together is a wonderful model for the species of humans moving forward in the future.

Kodiak used to be powered by diesel fuel. They were at the direct mercy of rapid fluctuations in fuel price, storms preventing or severely delaying delivery of fuel and power outages. The decision by Kodiak Electric Association (KEA) was made to erect three large wind turbines, each rated to 1 Megawatt.  Aside from the pittance of hydro-electric power produced by Baskin Lake, the main source of electric power was the diesel power plant.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency immediately paid a visit, and declared that KEA would not be allowed or given permission or permits to build the wind turbines on Pinnacle Peak. KEA responded by telling the EPA to go attempt to make love to one of the local grizzly bears. KEA built the first 3 towers and achieved almost 92% of their power needs immediately. They then decided to build 3 more towers. Once more the EPA came to visit and told KEA that they would not be allowed to build.

KEA reminded the EPA reps that there’s a bunch of male grizzly bears looking for willing mates and they should probably hurry up and get busy. Needless to say, three more towers were built and now 99% of the power needs were met. One of the major shipping lines (Maersk?) decided to update the crane for shipping containers and it was to be all electric. This was obviously going to put a huge strain on the power supply and grid so they agreed to install a flywheel system so that it would not draw down the power grid. A battery system was also installed, which completed the full functionality of the power grid. With HydroElectric, Wind Turbines, Flywheels, and Batteries, the City of Kodiak had achieved 100% independence from diesel power.

One wonders why the EPA would want to purposefully attempt to hinder or prevent wind towers from being built.  If the purpose of the EPA is to protect the environment, then why would getting away from a diesel power plant be such a bad thing?

I wonder…

100% Renewably-Powered: Alaska’s Kodiak Island goes all in with wind and hydro

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Chris Hunter

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