Installation of New Met Towers at Little Mt. Susitna and Murphy Dome

Tom George, AOPA Alaska Regional Manager


A renewable energy company is proposing development of wind farms near Alaska’s two largest cities.
Alaska Renewables is a small company based in Fairbanks that is proposing the pair of projects to
provide sources of renewable energy that will feed the power grid serving the Railbelt area. Part of the
initial evaluation of the proposed windfarm sites requires the installation of towers to collect
meteorological (met) information. Pilots should note the location of towers at these study sites: one is
at Little Mount Susitna, about 35 miles northwest of Anchorage International Airport (Figure 1); the
other is on Shovel Creek, approximately 20 miles west of Fairbanks International Airport, near Murphy
Dome (Figure 2).
Alaska Renewables staff reached out to AOPA, the Alaska Airmen’s Association, and other aviation
stakeholders to let us know about the project and to provide information about the locations of the met
towers, which are typically 165 feet tall (agl). The three northernmost towers at Shovel Creek are 194
feet tall (agl) – all are under the height threshold to be charted or lighted, but do have orange marker
balls on the guy wires (Figure 3). They are expected to be operational and collecting data for
approximately two years. Both of these areas have significant general aviation traffic that transits
through these proposed sites, so be on the lookout for the towers when flying in these locations.
The aviation organizations will be examining these wind farm proposals closely to understand the
potential impact on aviation. Public meetings have been held in Fairbanks, Anchorage, and the Mat-Su
Valley and more will be held as plans develop. Pilots are encouraged to follow these projects, which can
be monitored on their website at https://www.alaskarenewables.com/projects. You can also sign up to
receive notices from the company directly, ask questions or make comments, sign up for a field trip, or
submit formal comments through their website.
Tom George serves as the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association’s Regional Manager for Alaska. He
resides in Fairbanks and owns a Cessna 185. He may be reached at tom.george@aopa.org or 301-695-
2092.

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