U.S. awards $1.675 million grant to 1.5-MW Alaska project

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced it awarded a $1.675 million grant to Alaska Power &Telephone Co. for construction of the proposed 1.5-MW Yerrick Creek hydro project.

The grant was included in $19.9 million in grants made by the Agriculture Department’s High Energy Cost program, administered by the department’s Rural Development Office. About $11 million in grants were awarded for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects, including Yerrick Creek, while the rest went toward power line projects.

Yerrick Creek, the only hydro project selected, also is benefiting from another program. The Denali Commission and Alaska Energy Authority awarded a $100,000 grant June 24 to Alaska Power Co., a subsidiary of AP&T, for an assessment of Yerrick Creek. (HNN 6/25/08)

Funds from the Agriculture Department’s High Energy Cost program can be used to buy, construct, extend, upgrade, or otherwise improve energy generation, transmission, or distribution facilities. The facilities must serve communities in which the average residential cost for home energy exceeds 275 percent of the national average.

Yerrick Creek is located near the Alaska Highway, about 20 miles east of Tok, in south-central Alaska. The proposed project will provide electricity to the utility’s grid around Tok, which relies solely on diesel generation. The project would include a small diversion structure, about 11,000 feet of penstock, and a powerhouse with one horizontal-shaft Pelton turbine and generator.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission determined licensing of the Yerrick Creek project is not required. FERC found the project is not under the commission’s jurisdiction because it would not affect interstate or foreign commerce and is not on a navigable waterway.

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