Cordova Renewable Energy Workgroup
Meeting minutes from October 8, 2009
In attendance: Jim Nygaard (Superintendent, Cordova School District), Mark Lynch
(City Manager, City of Cordova), Autumn Bryson (Environmental Coordinator, NVE),
Erin Shew (VISTA Environmental Assistant, NVE), Jason Borer (Eyak Corporation),
Bruce Cain (Executive Director, NVE), Clay Koplin (CEO, Cordova Electric
Cooperative), Rich Stromberg (Wind Energy Program, AEA)
? DOE – Energy Efficiency Community Block Grant
? Biomass Feasibility Report
? DOE Wind Grant Project Manager
? AEA Round 3 Funding
? CREW Radio Show
? Green Choice Clean Power Program
? Methane Digester Grant
DOE – Energy Efficiency Community Block Grant (EECBG) The Native Village of Eyak was allocated $48,900 through the DOE EECBG in May.
Originally, the plan for the money included $27,060 to write an energy efficiency
strategy for Cordova, $2,550 for contractual consultants, $13,340 for a firewood
distribution program, and $5,981 towards a wind feasibility study. The firewood
processor has already been purchased and will arrive in Cordova soon. The wind
feasibility was paid for by a separate DOE grant and is already underway. In addition,
the EECBG program manager advised NVE that the CREW’s Cordova Energy Plan
could easily be adapted to fit the requirements of the EECBG energy strategy. NVE
proposed using the wind feasibility funds to hold an Energy Efficiency Fair and the
energy strategy funds to conduct a city energy audit. The Energy Efficiency Fair was
well received, and the school district and CEC offered their assistance. There were some
concerns about the cost and need of a citywide energy audit. The high school had
previously pursued quotes for a complete energy audit and the cost for the school alone
was around $40,000.
Biomass Feasibility Report
NVE received the results of a biomass heating feasibility study conducted by Dalson
Energy of Anchorage, AK. The report concluded that the amount of biomass in the burn
pile was not enough for a district heating system and would need to be supplemented by
sustainable timber harvesting. CREW members expressed worry that the consultant
came with preconceived ideas about the project and did not understand that the goal is to
find a use for the resources being wasted in the burn pile. Rich Stromberg argued that it
was likely not feasible as a stand-alone project, but as part of an integrated system it
could be a viable heat source. Bruce Cain felt that the burn pile could be used for small-
scale heating and that resources could be recycled if it were staffed and organized. He
suggested selling pallets to local fish processors, de-nailing lumber and reusing it in
construction projects, and heating the pool with the remaining burnable waste. Clay Koplin agreed with Bruce and said that a boiler would be worth losing some money on if it provided a local job, helped heat the pool, and created a use for combustible waste.
DOE Wind Grant Project Manager
NVE is in need of a manager for their wind project to oversee the wind feasibility study and the design and permitting stage. Currently the position is funded for 18-21 months starting as soon as NVE receives the DOE award. Adam Low was suggested as a potential candidate, and Jim Nygaard said he would give him a courtesy call regarding the position. Rich Stromberg suggested a UAF or UAA student with renewable energy or utility experience. Clay Koplin suggested approaching a large oil company with a renewable energy department and partially funding a young engineer at the company to work part time in Cordova on the wind project. Autumn Bryson said she would write a position description.
AEA Round 3 funding
Clay Koplin said that CEC will not be pursuing any funding this round because they already have too many projects. NVE said that they will rework the biomass heating project.
CREW radio show
KLAM approached Autumn Bryson with the idea of giving the CREW some airtime. Clay said he would like to go on the radio and thought it would be good to go on air once a month to discuss Cordova energy issues.
Green Choice Clean Power Program
Clay Koplin explained the Green Choice Clean Power program, in which businesses or individuals pay $0.02 / kWh extra to help fund renewable energy projects and can then market their products as being powered by renewable energy. He said he would like to get the city to sign up with the program because it is CEC’s second largest customer. Mark Lynch said he would be willing to discuss the possibility further with Clay.
Methane Digester Grant
Katey Walter Anthony, a National Geographic Emerging Explorer who focuses on cold climate methanogens (microbes that produce methane), and T.H. Culhane, also a National Geographic Emerging Explorer who has done work with methane digester heating stoves in warm climates, received an emerging technology grant from the Denali Commission for $360,000 to test the effectiveness of methane digester cooking stoves using cold climate methanogens in conjunction with the Cordova School District. Culhane will be in Cordova January 14-20 to present on building methane digester stoves, and to research cattails as a food and biomass source. Clay thinks Cordova should look into cattail cultivation as well.