In 2015, the Alaska Village Electric Cooperative (AVEC) operated more wind turbines than any electric utility in Alaska. AVEC covers the largest area of any retail electric cooperative in the world. It serves 58 communities stretching from Kivalina in the north to Old Harbor on Kodiak Island in the south, and from Gambell on St. Lawrence Island in the west to Minto in the east. Yakutat, in southeast Alaska, is more than 1,000 air miles from Gambell. Minto is the only AVEC community accessible by road. All other communities are only accessible by airplane or marine vessel.
AVEC has designed turbine foundations specifically for permafrost conditions, and trains wind technicians who live in each community and work on the construction and operation of new wind systems. AVEC works with the Alaska Energy Authority (AEA) to leverage funding for the wind turbines, and will work with customers who are interested in installing their own renewable energy systems to determine whether it can be connected to the utility grid.
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