Village awarded federal grant for river turbine design

The U.S. Department of Energy has picked a southwest Alaska village for funding to advance development of an underwater river turbine that could replace diesel power with clean energy.

The department awarded Igiugig $393,500 grant for designing the next phase of river turbines.

The turbine will be designed by Ocean Renewable Power Co. of Portland, Maine.

The village worked with the company for a demonstration of a river turbine the last two summers.

The company says a river turbine last summer displaced one-third of the community’s diesel use.

Igiugig is on the Kvichak River River about 250 miles southwest of Anchorage.

Igiugig Village Council President AlexAnna Salmon says residents were pleased that 1.5 million sockeye salmon passed the turbine as it operated last year without being harmed.