Alaska agency awards $1.6 million to 100-kW Eagle hydrokinetic

Alaska Power Co. announced July 31 it received a $1.6 million grant to help develop the 100-kW Eagle River Turbine hydrokinetic project on Alaska’s Yukon River.

The grant was awarded by Denali Commission of Anchorage, which delivers federal government services in Alaska while reducing administrative and overhead costs. It also provides job training and other economic development services in rural areas.

Alaska Power described the Eagle River Turbine hydrokinetic project as Alaska’s first �river turbine� project. In general, hydrokinetic systems generate electricity from moving water without a need to build dams, impoundments, or conduits.

Alaska Power, a subsidiary of Alaska Power &Telephone Co., said it expects the project will begin operating in fall 2008, providing electricity to the city of Eagle and to Eagle Village.

The project will utilize a low-impact turbine that is adaptable to a variety of locations where tidal or river current flows are available. Alaska Power will evaluate the project over three years to identify broader applications of the technology throughout Alaska and elsewhere.

The hydro developer said it has worked for several years with UEK Corp. of Annapolis, Md., a developer of hydrokinetic technology, to adapt the technology to the Yukon River at Eagle. (HNN 4/26/07)

Called underwater electric kites, UEK units are anchored to the bottom of the river by a cable, with no dam or other impoundment. Controlled by a computer, the turbines ascend or descend until they locate the layer of water with the fastest current. UEK says the underwater electric kites can be installed anywhere flow velocity exceeds 2 meters per second. (HNN 3/15/07)

The Corps of Engineers and the Alaska Department of Natural Resources have issued permits for the project. Alaska Power also expects to submit a license application to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, once FERC completes a new licensing process for ocean and other hydrokinetic pilot projects. (HNN 7/20/07)

Alaska Power already operates conventional certified �low-impact� hydroelectric projects, 4.5-MW Black Bear Lake (No. 10440) on Alaska’s Prince of Wales Island and 4-MW Goat Lake (No. 11077) in the Skagway-Haines area. (HNN 4/3/07)

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