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Wind Power in Alaska

The recent celebration of the Nome wind farm prompted me to look for government publications regarding wind power in my state. Along the way I learned a few facts about Alaskan wind power.

According to the Renewable Energy Atlas of Alaska, published in 2006, Alaska’s first wind farm was built in Kotzebue and has been providing power since 1997. According to the Alaska Energy Authority, there are a number of utility-scale wind farms around the state and you can see where they are at http://www.akenergyauthority.org/programwindsystem.html.

The  Renewable Energy Atlas says that the best winds are located in the western and coastal areas of the state. Southeast Alaska, my part of the state is not considered that great for land-based windpower because of terrain and varible wind issues. But offshore wind plants could work. The Alaska Energy Authority has published detailed “Resource Assessment Data” for many parts of Alaska at http://www.akenergyauthority.org/programwindresourcedata.html. Juneau’s prospects were rated poor by the AEA.

Although Kotzubue didn’t go live until 1997, wind power has been officially studied in Alaska at least since 1976 with the publication of:

by Boeing Engineering and Construction Company.
There were 29 publications listed in the global library catalog WorldCat relating to wind power in Alaska between 1976 and 1985. A year didn’t go by without some publication on this resource. Then nothing at all appears to be published from 1986 until 1994, when we see this one publication:

by Thomas R Jr Lamp; WRIGHT LAB WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB OH.;
Then the publication records as far as libraries are concerned goes silent until the 1999 publication of:

by R Vilhauer; K Conover; Global Energy Concepts, Inc.; Electric Power Research Institute.; et al
Which signaled a renewed interest in exploring Alaskan windpower which has continued until the 2009 publication of:

by E Ian Baring-Gould; Martina Dabo; National Renewable Energy Laboratory (U.S.); Alaska Energy Authority.
Finally, wind has also come into its own for home use if you want to use it as part of a strategy for living off the grid, as evidenced by this 2007 publication:

by National Renewable Energy Laboratory (U.S.);
If you’d like to learn more about wind energy on the national level, check out http://www.windpoweringamerica.gov/.  If you’d like to see all 55 Alaskan wind power publications I found, please visit http://www.worldcat.org/profiles/dcornwall/lists/575889. If you’re aware of some publications I missed, let me know.
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2 Responses

  1. Wow what a wealth of information in one post. I think that the more sources of clean renewable energy we have the better it will be for everyone.

    It still drives me nuts that somes southeast communities like Haines and sometimes Juneau are buring deisel. The cost to the customers is higher, the cost to the environment is higher, the cost to the utility is higher. EVERYONE loses.

    Hopefully as people become more educated and more aware of alternatives that can help keep our air clean AND keep money in our wallets we will see more effort put into renewable energy here.

    -Alaska Fisherman
    Fishing in Juneau Alaska

  2. Interesting web site,, i will come back soon=)

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