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Arctic climate change researchers still conflicted over UAF’s coal-fired powerplant

By District Energy posted 09-13-2017 00:00


Tim Ellis, KUAC - Fairbanks


The University of Alaska Fairbanks, a member of IDEA, is building a heat and power plant to replace the old facility that went into service in 1964. The new $245 million powerplant, scheduled to come online next year, will feature updated technology that’ll reduce most pollutants – but it will continue to emit greenhouse gases blamed for warming the planet. Many on campus say that conflicts with UAF’s leadership in Arctic climate-change research.

The work on UAF’s 17-megawatt combined heat and power plant is about halfway done. And when the state-of-the-art facility goes online around December of next year, Senior Project Manager Mike Ruckhaus said it’ll be among the most environmentally friendly coal-fired power plants in the country.

“From an environmental standpoint, this meets all the current regulations and criteria,” Ruckhaus said during a tour last week around the construction site.

Work on UAF’s new 17-megawatt combined heat and power plant is about half done. University officials say it’s scheduled to go online in December 2018. (Photo by Tim Ellis/KUAC)

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