By turning to wind energy, Kwethluk will burn 50% less diesel and reduce residents’ electric bills by up to half.
50%! That is nearly 50,000 gallons of diesel! And a monthly savings of up to $125 per household. Sure, the wind project has a price tag of $6.5 million.
I like math, so here goes…some rough calculations:
The four new turbines can operate for up to 25 years. $6.5M / 25years / 800 residents comes out to about $325 per Kwethluk resident per year.
And, 50,000 gallons diesel/year x 25 years x $6/gal = $7.5M. Annually, for each resident, this equals $375. ($6/gallon is an assumed value)
Hmmm. If I calculated that correctly, and my assumption are close to accurate, the community of Kwethluk will save nearly one million dollars over the lifespan of the wind turbines. And, an astonishing 13,000 tons of carbon dioxide will NOT enter our atmosphere, not to mention the many other noxious byproducts of fossil fuel burning. Of course, this emission total does not take into account the emissions that occur with every shipment of diesel to the community from who knows where!
Does renewable energy pay and make economic sense? It sure seems that the Kwethluk wind project comes in with an emphatic YES!
A large scale renewable energy project like this faces the same financial struggles as a small home heat pump upgrade. The initial investment can be a challenge, yet the long term payoff can be large. Very large. Creative financing and incentive programs are needed to allow rural communities, lower-income families, and others to make the leap to renewables. Programs like on-bill financing, C-PACE, low interest renewable energy traditional loans, green banks, and others are all needed to propel our renewable energy revolution forward!