Officials with the University of Alaska Fairbanks and more than a hundred invited guests gathered Wednesday at UAF to celebrate completion of the $245 million power plant. The coal-fired facility will generate 17 megawatts of electricity and produce enough steam to heat the campus. It’ll replace the 56-year-old power plant that was becoming increasingly undependable.
Construction work on the University of Alaska Fairbanks’s new coal-fired powerplant is complete and workers are preparing for the first test of a major component by the end of the month. If all goes as planned, the $245-million plant should be fully operational around Thanksgiving.
Updated: Golden Valley Electric Association restarted and operated the boiler of its coal-fired Healy 2 powerplant for several hours during a test run Monday. The test re-firings resumed Thursday and will continue through August, when Golden Valley hopes to make the 50-megawatt plant fully operational.
The University of Alaska Fairbanks is building a heat-and-power plant to replace the old facility that went into service in 1964. The new $245 million powerplant, scheduled to come online next year, will feature updated technology that’ll reduce most pollutants – but it will continue to emit greenhouse gases blamed for warming the planet. Many on campus say that conflicts with UAF’s leadership in Arctic climate-change research.
“No matter what we do ... we cannot stop climate change in its tracks,” says John Holdren, President Obama’s science adviser. “It’s already having significant impacts. Those impacts will grow, and we need to be prepared for that.”
Golden Valley Electric Association’s top executive says members should prepare for rate hikes to pay for GVEA’s response to new pollution controls on powerplants that the federal government announced today. The new rule will be phased in over the coming years in an effort to cut powerplants’ production of climate-changing greenhouse gases by about a third.