Golden Valley Electric Association

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Golden Valley Electric Association (GVEA) is a nonprofit rural electric cooperative in Alaska serving about 100,000 residents, including Fairbanks.[1] GVEA is considering a proposal, pushed by former Alaska governor Sarah Palin, to be part of a joint corporation consisting of six Railbelt utilities: GVEA, Homer Electric Association, City of Seward, Matanuska Electric Association, Anchorage’s Municipal Power and Light, and Chugach Electric Association. Palin had said future state money for major generation projects, including the Susitna hydroelectric project, could be contingent on cooperation.[2]

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Existing Coal Plants

Plant Name State Year(s) Built Capacity
Healy Power Plant AK 1967 28 MW

Sale of Healy Power Plant

Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority (AIDEA) and GVEA agreed to restart the AIDEA-owned Healy Clean Coal Plant, idle since 1999 when GVEA, for whom the plant was originally built, entered a legal battle with AIDEA for ownership. On June 2006, Gov. Murkowski vetoed a state bill to spend $12.5 million in state funds on restarting the project.[3]

In October 2008, Homer Electric Association (HEA) proposed to transfer the contractual rights for the Healy Clean Coal Plant to GVEA. This gave GVEA the right to restart, operate, and receive all power from the plant, pending resolution of the litigation between GVEA and AIDEA.[4]

On January 14, 2009, the Healy Clean Coal Plant entered initial stages of reopening. AIDEA, GVEA, and HEA approved terms for a three-way deal for the sale of the power plant, according to which GVEA would purchase the plant for $50 million, AIDEA finance the sale, and HEA purchase half of the energy produced by the plant starting in 2014. The sale was expected to be completed by August 1, 2009. GVEA projects the plant will start up in 2010-11.[5]

On January 21, at least 75 HEA members gathered outside of HEA's building on January 21st in opposition to the cooperative's deal with AIDEA.[6]

In May 2009, HEA voted to end its involvement with plans to restart the Healy plant. HEA announced that it is looking at wind energy, hydropower and natural gas options to satisfy its energy needs. [7] In July 2009, ADEIA announced it would assist GVEA in restarting the plant.[8]

On August 24, 2009, GVEA and AIDEA agreed to sell the Healy plant to Tri-Valley Electric Cooperative (a GVEA subsidiary) for $50 million. The new agreement also reflects the departure of HEA from the deal.[9]

Golden Valley also buys power from Aurora Energy LLC's coal-fired Chena Power Plant in Fairbanks, Alaska. The Chena power site has four steam turbines fueled by coal and one oil-fueled electrical generator.[10]

Opposition to Healy Plant

In March 2010 anti-coal groups targeted Golden Valley Electric Association's plan to restart an inactive Healy Power Plant but would have to go into debt as a result. The GVEA Ratepayers Alliance stated in response that the "black hole" for energy customers' money and opposed the plant's reopening.[11]

Contact details

Golden Valley Electric Association
758 Illinois Street
PO Box 71249
Fairbanks, AK 99707-1249
Phone: (907) 452-1151
Fax: (907) 458-6365

Articles and Resources


  1. "GVEA's History" Golden Valley Electric Association website, August 2009
  2. Rena Delbridge, "Golden Valley Electric Association's resistance to joint Railbelt utility dims", April 4, 2009
  3. "Murkowski Signs Largest-Ever Capital Budget", Juneau Empire, July 2, 2006.
  4. "GVEA: Healy Clean Coal Plant (HCCP)" GVEA website, accessed October 2008.
  5. "Healy Clean Coal Plant", GVEA website, accessed May 2009.
  6. "Stopping the Coal Rush", Sierra Club, accessed February 4, 2009.
  7. "Homer Electric backs out of Healy coal plant deal", Alaska Journal of Commerce , May 22, 2009.
  8. "Homer Electric out on Healy coal plant restart", KTUU, July 21, 2009.
  9. "State, Fairbanks utility back on track with Healy clean coal project", Alaska Journal of Commerce , August 28, 2009.
  10. "Golden Valley resolves contract disputes" Golden Valley Electric Association Website, January 13, 2006
  11. "Anti-coal groups target Healy plant's debt" Associated Press, March 26, 2010.

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