Feds fund peninsula energy efficiency efforts

The initiative is part of the Build Back Better agenda under the Biden-Harris administration.

The United States Department of Agriculture announced it is investing $42 million for climate-conscious infrastructure in rural Alaska early this month, which will include loans for sustainable projects on the Kenai Peninsula.

The initiative is part of the Build Back Better agenda under the Biden-Harris administration, according to a USDA press release issued Dec. 3. Under the program, the Electric Energy Cooperative, which is a subsidiary of the Homer Electric Association, is set to receive a $38 million loan to finance a battery energy storage system on the Kenai Peninsula.

Jo Cappeto, USDA public affairs specialist, said in an email that the battery is set to improve much of the electricity consumption on the peninsula.

“The battery energy storage system, with its fast response time, will be able to respond more effectively to system disturbances, thus reducing load shed events (which is critically important to some of our industrial customers) and reducing potential system restoration events,” she wrote. “Homer Electric Association’s typical combustion turbine takes 7 to 15 minutes to start, whereas the BESS output is immediately available.”

The battery energy system will have a capacity of 46.5 megawatts and will be able to deliver up to 93 megawatt hours of energy on demand. Megawatts are used to measure the output of electricity or energy from a power plant, while megawatt hours refer to how much electricity is consumed per hour.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, one home consumes an average of 893 kilowatt hours of energy per month.

Cappeto said via email that the application process for the USDA loan was “long” and “thorough.” A construction work plan approved by engineers, a budget, load forecasting for the area, a 10-year financial forecast, emergency response plan and environmental impact approval are all elements included in the application.

In addition to the battery energy storage system on the Kenai Peninsula, Sitka received a $4 million loan to finance generator upgrades and modification projects for one of its hydroelectric facilities.

Cappeto said Tuesday that the battery is already ready to use on the Kenai Peninsula, and that HEA is working on generating more sustainable energy the system can store.

The USDA announced it would also invest in the Red Diamond Liquor Barn in Soldotna by granting the business $20,000 to install an energy-efficient walk-in cooler.

There are seven total businesses set to receive funds from the USDA, as well as eight Alaska fishing vessels.

Reach reporter Camille Botello at

More in News

Assembly President Brent Johnson asks questions of representatives of the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District during a joint work session of the School Board and Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly in Soldotna, Alaska, on Tuesday, April 2, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Borough to enter contract for asbestos flooring abatement in 3 central peninsula schools

The work will be done at Kenai Central High, Kenai Alternative High and Sterling Elementary schools

Alaska State Troopers logo.
1 dead, 3 missing after boat capsizes near Seward

Alaska State Troopers were notified by the U.S. Coast Guard of an overturned vessel around 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday

Kenai Central High School stands under clear skies in Kenai, Alaska, on Thursday, May 23, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Borough approves contract for KCHS parking lot rehabilitation

Soldotna-based Foster Construction will be awarded the bid of $648,997 to complete the project

Central Peninsula Hospital is seen in Soldotna on Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2021. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Central Peninsula Hospital to host Cancer Survivor’s Day event

The event will take place Sunday, June 2 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion
Rep. Ben Carpenter, R-Nikiski, speaks to the joint Soldotna and Kenai chambers of commerce at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex on Wednesday.
Carpenter gives wrap up on session as he nears end of House term

Carpenter is seeking election to state Senate District D

(from left to right) Jachin Sanchez, Carter Lemons, Rowan Mahoney, Adelyn McCorison and Taylor Rickard graduated from Ninilchik School on Monday, May 13, 2024 in Ninilchik, Alaska. Photo provided by Mattea Peters-Williamson
Ninilchik graduates 5 in 2024 commencement

The school held the ceremony Monday, May 13

Kenai Peninsula Education Association President LaDawn Druce, left, and committee Chair Jason Tauriainen participate in the first meeting of the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District’s Four Day School Week Ad Hoc Committee on Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2024, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
4-day school week committee adjourns

The committee will deliver recommendations to school board in July

Soldotna Elementary School Principal Dr. Austin Stevenson points out corroded insulation outside of the school building on Friday, Sept. 30, 2022 in Soldotna . (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Soldotna Elementary awaits action on approved bond

Almost two years after public OKs bond, borough asking for more time

Most Read