The long-anticipated hydroelectric project on Chignik Lagoon’s Packer Creek is now operational.
Nathan Hill is the manager of the Lake and Peninsula Borough:
“They are running 100% hydro as we speak. It’s not 100% complete, there’s some dirt work to do still, things we were waiting on for weather. But they are off of diesel right now.”
Hill says the $5 million dollar hydro project is a run-of-the-river system.
“Which means we take water out up at the top and put it into a pipe, and it gets piped down to a lower elevation where it goes through the turbine and then gets put back into the creek.”
The unit will provide electricity to the 70-some residents of Chignik Lagoon. Hill says they may not see a drop in electricity rates right away, but getting away from diesel should lower costs in the long run.
“With the cost of diesel, prices rise and fall, and we have no control over it. But with alternative energy, the goal is to at the very least stabilize the cost of energy so that it doesn’t spike.”
The hydro project was funded with $4 million dollars from the Alaska Energy Authority, as well as contributions from the Borough and the village.
The project has been in the works for several years, and broke ground last spring. Hill says the community plans to hold a ribbon cutting around mid-August.