Hydroelectric power generation across Southeast Alaska continues its regional expansion! Two new projects are either just online or soon to be, each potentially slashing oil use and carbon emissions, while lowering power rates for residents of Kake, Gustavus, and soon the National Park HQ in Glacier Bay National Park’s Bartlett Cove.
The multi-million dollar Gunnuk Creek hydro project came online earlier this fall, and its proponents hope it will lower the cost of energy and bring the remote community one step closer to energy independence.
Aside from a small solar project, Kake relies on diesel generators for electricity. Since the Gunnuk Creek hydro project was turned on in September, it’s saved the town 2,500 gallons of diesel fuel.
The Gustavus Intertie project would allow for National Park Service facilities to connect to the local electric utility which runs on hydropower. Vice President of Business Development for AP&T Jason Custer said the objective of the project is to displace diesel-based power and create environmental benefits by reducing the use of carbon from fossil fuel.
In one year, it’s estimated the project will displace about 600 tons of carbon dioxide, some 38,000 gallons of diesel fuel. “That is like leaving 915 barrels of oil in the ground every year. It’s the equivalent of taking 128 passenger vehicles off the road for one year,” he added.