International grid experts meet in Cordova July 26-29

Local students encouraged to participate in conference

Clay Koplin, chief executive officer of Cordova Electric Cooperative, Inc., explains the proposed Crater Lake project while giving an onsite visit on Monday, June 4, 2018. (Photo by Emily Mesner/The Cordova Times)

An international technology forum for remote power system operators and owners featuring isolated grid experts from Alaska, Canada, Hawaii, Australia and Greenland is coming to Cordova July 26-29.

The 2022 Isolated Power Systems Connect conference is to bring together national lab experts remote grid operators, supply chain representatives and others who work on isolated grids. The conference is an international technology forum aimed at remote power system operators and owners.

Panel sessions at the Cordova Center will cover the latest developments in integration and technology from vehicle-to-grid to hydrogen fuel cells, diesel adaptation and optimization, changes in energy storage and share lessons learned. Conferees will also discuss opportunities and challenges facing remote grid operators.

The conference will include in-person energy facility tours of Cordova Electric Cooperative’s own innovative microgrid at Power Creek and Battery Energy Storage System and Humpback Creek.

Cordova introduced integration of a lithium-ion energy storage system into a hydropower microgrid back in 2019, The aim was to recover lost hydro generation that at the time was spilled during transition periods between hydro-only and combined hydro-diesel generation, explained Clay Koplin, chief executive officer of the Cordova Electric Cooperative, former mayor of the city and a member of the organizing committee for the conference.

Koplin expects about 100 participants to sign up for the conference and said he would talk with local teachers about sending some of their students at no cost to also participate in discussions.

The CEC covers Cordova’s baseload with a 6 MW run-of-river hydro generator at its Power Creek facility and also operates a 1.25 MW run-of-river hydro facility at Humpback Creek. The hydro is supplemented when needed by output from the Orca diesel generation plant, where the main control center is located. Two 1-MW diesel gensets are used to support the transition from hydro-only operation. The gensets are powered up during the winter when the rivers freeze and in summer to support peak loads.

CEC’s hydropower costs are around $0.06/kWh, Koplin noted. That compares with diesel generation costs that can range as high as $0.60/kWh depending on fuel prices. So whenever possible, CEC prefers to run on hydropower alone and typically meets as much as 78% of its annual demand this way, he said.

Alaska is considered by some to be a world leader in the integration of renewables into remote grids and Cordova’s world class fishing grounds are also home to a pioneering hybrid system that generates over 70% of the city’s power for some 2,600 residents using advanced grid controls, run-of-river hydropower, diesel generators and a lithium-ion energy storage system.

Conference registration is at tinyurl.com/ipsconnectcordova.

The registration fee is $200 until July 1 and $250 after that date.

For further information contact Stephanie Nowers at 907-229-1982 or sjnowers@mtaonline.net.