Alexandra Gutierrez, KUCB –Unalaska
The City of Akutan continues to make progress on its geothermal energy project. For more than a year, the city has been working to turn the island’s hot springs into a renewable energy resource. This summer, two exploratory wells have been drilled 1,500 feet into the earth, at a site about three miles away from the town in Hot Spring Valley Bay. According to program manager Ray Mann, the results have been promising. Geologists have measured temperatures of about 360 degrees in the wells – hot enough to move forward with the project.
Last week, Mann traveled to California to address the Geothermal Resources Council and talk about where the project stands and where it’s going.
Right now, the project is estimated to cost $45 million, and it has largely been paid for with Alaska Renewable Energy funds and city money. Energy produced by the well could be enough to develop a 12 megawatt power system on the island. Akutan is part of the eastern Aleutian Chain. It has a population of about 800 people, and it supports a major fish processing plant. The production of geothermal energy is expected to eliminate the need for heating fuel on the island.
The project is expected to be online by 2012.
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