Oil and Gas is Trying to Stop Renewables on the Kenai Peninsula

HEA decided this summer to build a giant 93 megawatt hour battery (often called a BESS — battery energy storage system) on our grid, which is the most exciting thing to have happened at HEA for a while. Now, the Cook Inlet Natural Gas Storage Association (CINGSA) is complaining to the Regulatory Commission (RCA) about our battery and trying to stop it.

Comment by May 21 to rca.mail@alaska.gov in reference to TA425-32.

HEA needs this battery because:

  • It stops the waste of gas.
  • When the line to Anchorage is down (like it was for half of last year), we burn $25,000 in extra gas each day — gas we wouldn’t need with a battery — to keep an extra, less-efficient power plant running at a low level in case something goes wrong.
  • When we run our gas plants at a more efficient level, we save fuel. Even for our most efficient plant, the fuel required to produce a kilowatt hour of energy can range from 7 cents to over 20 cents. A battery lets us run efficiently and use the battery to deal with spikes and dips in load.
  • It allows us to integrate renewable power like solar and wind.
  • To use variable sources of energy, you need something that can vary to match — a battery is the best way to do that.
  • In other parts of the Railbelt, wind proposals (Fire Island 2 and the Delta Wind expansion) have died because the utilities claimed that balancing that variable power was too expensive.
  • It reduces our dependence on expensive natural gas and the Hilcorp monopoly.
  • Gas in Cook Inlet is more than 3 times the price of the lower 48, and only Hilcorp has the capacity to bid on long-term contracts.

One of HEA’s strategic initiatives is to reduce dependence on expensive natural gas. To do that, we need the ability to stop wasting it now, and the ability to make use of other power sources as they become available.

Comment today to rca.mail@alaska.gov in reference to TA425-32.


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