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City of Golovin to Receive Two New Generators Thanks to NSEDC Grant

Four generators rest on concrete mounting blocks in the Golovin Power Plant. The building, built in 2004, is set for a major upgrade with two new generators being delivered in the summer of 2024. Ben Townsend photo.

The City of Golovin will soon receive two new generators for its city-owned power plant, thanks to a Community Energy Fund grant awarded by the Norton Sound Economic Development Corporation (NSEDC). The funding, totaling $218,098, was approved during NSEDC’s first-quarter board meeting earlier in May.

The grant comes at a critical time for Golovin, where only one of the city’s four current generators is fully operational. The remaining three are either undergoing repairs or have been deemed unreliable. 

Golovin’s energy demands fluctuate seasonally, with summer loads ranging from 90 to 120 kW and winter loads escalating to between 180 and 215 kW. According to Power Plant Operator Larry Fagerstrom Jr. the new generators will significantly enhance the city’s energy security, particularly during the harsh winter months. 

One of the City of Golovin’s current engines undergoing repairs. Ben Townsend photo.

“The new generators, each with a capacity of 222 kW, are about 30 kW more powerful than our current ones,” Fagerstrom said. “This upgrade means we might only need to run one engine during winter, whereas now we have to run two.”

When generators need to be rebuilt they must be sent by barge to Anchorage. According to Fagerstrom, the cost of such repairs can be up to 10% more than simply replacing it with a new unit.

“We were very grateful for the approval and happy to avoid sending equipment out of town for repairs,” Fagerstrom said.

The generators are diesel-powered John Deere 6090 marine engines. They’re being built in Seattle and are expected to arrive in Golovin by early fall. Fagerstrom noted that the marine engines are more durable and easier to work with than industrial models. The installation will be managed by technicians from Homer and is expected to take about a week and a half once the generators are delivered. 

For a community that relies entirely on electricity for heating, the grant from NSEDC comes at the perfect time as the village of 170 prepares for the next winter season.

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