Ike’s Storm Winds Blast Southern Illinois and Ohio Co-ops • Alaskans Hit Hard by Higher Oil Prices • Largest Class of Students Participate in Lineman Training • Illinois G&T to Develop 30 MW Wind Farm • Near To Slightly Below Normal Temperatures Expected For November •
Ike’s Storm Winds Blast Southern Illinois and Ohio Co-ops
On Sept. 14, after devastating 10 east Texas electric co-ops, Hurricane Ike’s wake caused widespread outages throughout the Midwest. Southern Illinois Electric Cooperative, Southeastern Illinois Electric Cooperative and Egyptian Electric Cooperative were hit hard and called in help from neighboring Illinois co-ops.
Pennsylvania, Indiana, Tennessee and Ohio electric co-ops were also hit hard by the hurricane storm remnants. Clay Electric Cooperative, Eastern Illini Electric Cooperative, EnerStar Power, Shelby Electric Cooperative and Rural Electric Convenience Cooperative sent help to four Ohio cooperatives.
Egyptian Electric Lineman Andy Ahner, with Mike Chamness behind him and Foreman Bill Korando on the truck repair lines south of Carbondale. Bryce Cramer, District Office Manager for Egyptian Electric, says 2,500 members were without power after Hurricane Ike storm remnants blew through the co-op territory knocking down trees with gusts to 70 mph. Cramer said “Egyptian Electric’s crews were joined by crews from Monroe Electric Cooperative from Waterloo and MJM Electric Cooperative from Carlinville, as well as contract crews. These crews worked 18-hour days to restore service.” – Photo by Bryce Cramer, Egyptian Electric
Alaskans Hit Hard by Higher Oil Prices
Think you’ve got it bad? How’d you like to pay 60 cents a kWh and $7 a gallon for gas? That’s what energy costs in Alaska.
Alaska Village Electric Cooperative (AVEC) serves about 7,500 consumers in 53 villages spread over the largest cooperative service territory in the world. The communities are not interconnected by transmission lines. Almost all of the electricity is generated by more than 160 diesel generator sets. Fuel is purchased and delivered by barge during a brief summer window of accessibility.
Consumers are facing electricity costs in excess of 60 cents per kWh. Alaska’s Power Cost Equalization program provides a partial subsidy for the first 500 kWh consumed by residences each month, but the cost to the end-user is still at least 24 cents per kWh, and there is no relief for commercial consumers. The villagers are also paying in excess of $7 per gallon for gasoline and home heating fuel.
Opportunities to develop alternative resources are limited. AVEC named Wind Cooperative of the Year in 2007 by the U.S. Department of Energy has some wind resources that generated 1.1 million kWh of electricity last year, displacing 81,481 gallons of the 5 million gallons of diesel fuel normally purchased in a year.
Largest Class of Students Participate in Lineman Training
One of the largest classes of students in Illinois electric cooperative history participated in lineman training in October at the Association of Illinois Electric Cooperatives’ (AIEC) training school at Lincoln Land Community College (LLCC) in Springfield. Forty students, including current apprentice lineman at cooperatives and municipal utilities, as well as LLCC students, are participating in First Year Apprentice and Rubber Gloving training.
“This is illustrative of the number of new electric linemen coming into the field,” said Roger Larkin, AIEC Manager of Lineworker and Apprentice Training. “We have a lot of outstanding young guys at the school this week who will be great journeymen linemen someday.”
Instructors at the school included Larkin, Chuck West, longtime instructor and retired Corn Belt Lineman/Serviceman; Lyle Kofoot, retired Eastern Illini Lineman/Servicema; Billy Shoaff, retired Shelby Electric Lineman and Operations Superintendent; Bob Gross, Monroe County Electric Journeyman Lineman; Scott Kerley, Tri-County Electric Lead Lineman; and Thad France, Shelby Electric Lineman.
“This week we’ve had a great group of instructors with many years of experience and the young guys have really learned a lot from them. They’re some of the best in the business and we greatly appreciate their hard work and willingness to share their skills and knowledge with the next generation of linemen,” said John Freitag, AIEC Vice President of Operations.
Illinois G&T to Develop 30 MW Wind Farm
Prairie Power, Inc. (PPI), based in Jacksonville, Ill., has announced plans to develop a 30-megawatt (MW) wind farm near Pittsfield, Ill. While the exact number of wind turbines has yet to be determined, initial estimates are for around 20 - 1.5 MW turbines.
Prairie Power’s President and CEO Robert Harbour said, “Our electric distribution cooperatives, their consumer members and the environment will benefit from this investment in wind power.”
The proposed wind farm will generate approximately 91,980 MW-hours of clean renewable electric energy. The energy output of the wind farm will provide enough electricity to serve approximately 15,970 rural co-op members.
Prairie Power plans to begin construction of the wind farm in late 2009 with an expected completion date of 2011. Estimated investment cost is approximately $66 million.
Near To Slightly Below Normal Temperatures Expected For November
Sea-surface temperatures across the Equatorial Pacific continue to average closer to normal and therefore the neutral El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) phase is persisting. In fact, long-range climate models indicate that this neutral phase will last through the rest of this year.
So what does a neutral phase during the late fall mean for Illinois temperatures? Taking a look back at past climate records reveals that Illinois can see both warmer and cooler than normal temperatures during the late fall with this type of ENSO signal occurring. However, other climate indices such as the NAO (North Atlantic Oscillation) point to the cooler scenario at least across portions of the state.
Current thinking is that portions of the Tennessee and Ohio Valley, including southern Illinois, will see temperatures that average slightly below normal during November. The rest of Illinois is expected to see mean temperatures that average closer to normal.
The Illinois map this month illustrates the total number of heating degree days that Illinois records on average during the month of November. It is possible that southern Illinois will see a slightly higher than average number of heating degree days. As a result, energy costs with respect to heating may also be higher than average.
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