USA. Denali Commission funds Alaskan hydrokinetic river turbine project

Thursday, 02 August 2007

The Denali Commission of Alaska has awarded grant funds in the amount of $1.6 million dollars to assist Alaska Power Company, (APC) with an innovative form of hydroelectric technology in the Yukon River to serve the City of Eagle and nearby Eagle Village. A first in Alaska, the low-impact renewable energy system will displace up to 57,000 gallons of diesel generation fuel annually for the approximately 200 residents of the two Eagle communities.

The 100-kilowatt "hydrokinetic" river turbine will be powered by the Yukon's current. The system is expected to be in operation next fall (2008), and will be evaluated over its first three years for what is hoped to be much broader applications in communities throughout Alaska and elsewhere. Key to the new system is a low impact turbine that is adaptable to a variety of locations where sufficient flow of water resource in the form of tidal, or river current is available.

“Research, design and advancement of sites conducive to low-impact renewable resource energy is a primary focus,” states APC President Robert Grimm. “To take a leadership role in the development of this technology is a natural extension of our vision as an employee-owned company and a practical opportunity to minimize our threshold of energy production related greenhouse gas emissions in the field.”

APC has been working for the past several years with the developer -- UEK Corporation of Annapolis, Maryland -- to adapt their technology to the Yukon River at Eagle. Permits have been issued by the U.S. Corps of Engineers and the Alaska Department of Natural Resources. APC provided the resources for site feasibility studies and permitting. “The funding of Alaska’s first river turbine project signals willingness by the Denali Commission to solidify a role in promoting the development of renewable resource energy in Alaska,” noted Ben Beste, AP&T’s lead project engineer.

Celebrating 50 years of reliability and innovation in 2007, APC is a subsidiary of Alaska Power & Telephone Company, which provides energy and communication services to 33 communities reaching from the Arctic Circle to the southernmost tip of SE Alaska. APC operates conventional low-impact certified hydroelectric projects on Prince of Wales Island and in the Skagway-Haines area of Southeast. The Eagle project will be the utility's first venture into the innovative field of river turbines.

Last Updated ( Thursday, 02 August 2007 )