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Control Measures

Written by Heather Penn

 

Terms to know:

QF: Qualified Facility

RCA: Regulatory Commission of Alaska

PURPA: The Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act passed in 1978 ensures utility companies like GVEA comply with all applicable requirements.

DWF: Delta Wind Farm

Four Rate Elements: interconnection, integration, purchases and sales.

Gaming: The “art” of taking facts, mixing them up and telling a story how you like.

The Letter: References a letter from RCA to Cory Borgeson stating that GVEA is out of compliance with some of their actions regarding alternative options for renewable energy sources.

Tariff- a schedule of rates or charges of a business or a public utility.

defined by Merriam Webster

 

On April 28, 2017, a letter from the RCA to Cory Borgeson, President and CEO of Golden Valley Electric Association, Inc. (GVEA) was delivered. This letter was delivered with the intent of eliciting a reply from Mr. Borgenson regarding

Tariff Section,

File: TA296-13

LO#: L1700168

 

The RCA had found GVEA to be out of compliance with the PURPA regulations. The tariff in question involves four key components or “rate elements.” These include, “interconnection, integration, purchases and sales.” The “sales” portion deals with GVEA not taking notice of the Delta Windfarm as a suitable brethren alternative utility.

 

The Delta Wind Farm (DWF), owned by Mike Craft, currently supplies GVEA with 2 megawatts of electricity but has the capabilities to supply much more at a lower cost to the consumer than what is currently being utilized. “Not only is DWF closer in proximity to Fairbanks and surrounding communities but DWF has a more stable wind regime,” said Craft. “The more stable wind regime is paramount in maintaining a well-functioning windfarm.”

 

Other than the 2 megawatts from DWF, GVEA pulls 24.6 megawatts (just over the Renewable Energy Pledge amount of 20 megawatts) from their own windfarm. GVEA spent 93 million building a 12-turbine windfarm dubbed Eva Creek, located 14 miles from Healy, Alaska. GVEA proposes to add another 4 turbines to the Eva Creek site rather than follow PURPA guidelines to include taking notice of alternative energy sources.

 

Therein lies the basis of the letter from RCA to GVEA. The RCA stated that “the filing,” in response to Mike Crafts option of utilizing his windfarm, “is substantively defective in several ways.” GVEA readily used a form of gaming.

 

The first three bullet points in the PURPA Act encourage utility companies in

  1. The conservation of electric energy,
  2. Increased efficiency in the use of facilities and resources by electric utilities,
  3. Equitable retail rates for electric consumers

 

The RCA letter stated that, “an electric utility is required to file a facility-specific tariff addressing “all four rate elements, “whenever it receives a written request for interconnection,” as was the request by Mr. Craft in regards to the DWF.

 

The people of Fairbanks are currently paying the interest on a 450 million bond taken out by GVEA. The bond includes, among other items, funding for the building of the Eva Creek windfarm, buying Healy II coal plant and then repairing the plant after a “small” explosion occurred not long after purchase. GVEA is seeking approval for the four additional turbines while Fairbanks residents are already paying the highest rates for electricity in the state.

 

At the annual GVEA meeting on May 4th., CEO Borgenson said, we’re going to save you (the consumer) money but were going to have to raise your rates (again) to do it.

 

“PURPA is the only existing federal law that requires competition in the utility industry and the only law that encourages renewables.”

(Federal Energy Regulatory Commission).

 

A copy of the letter is posted on the website freethepeopleak.com

http://www.ucsusa.org/clean_energy/smart-energy-solutions/strengthen-policy/public-utility-regulatory.html#.WRIoRlKZNBw

https://www.ferc.gov/industries/electric/gen-info/qual-fac/what-is.asp

http://www.gvea.com/energy/evacreek all the stats on GVEA wind farm on Eva Creek

http://www.gvea.com/images/annualreports/2017_Pgm-Rpt_FINAL_low_res.pdf

http://www.gvea.com/rates/billexplained

About the author

Heather Penn

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