Cordova, Alaska raises the bar for all communities, from Alaska to all corners of the lower 48. This beautiful little fishing community of roughly 2,500 residents on the eastern shores of Prince William Sound sends a clear message to the world that renewable energy pays. As with most investment in renewable energy, there are upfront cost hurdles that must be leapt. But, once cleared, the sky’s the limit for growth, additional investment, and personal and business potential.
Through the development of Cordova’s Power Creek hydroelectric project — a $24 million investment shared equally between the Department of Energy’s Indian Energy Fund and the State of Alaska — we’ve been able to achieve more than $40 million in savings from diesel fuel usage alone over the last 20 years. The creation of low-cost renewable energy in Cordova has attracted more than $40 million in private-sector fisheries investment, including two fish oil plants and expanded onshore processing to replace offshore processing. When you add up the increases in raw fish tax revenue alone — up from roughly half a million dollars per year to now more than $1.1 million per year — the State of Alaska has more than recovered its investment on the Power Creek Project, never mind the ancillary economic activity that’s been created.
Moreover, Cordova is now home to one of the largest grid modernization projects in the country — a darling of the Department of Energy — and has made significant strides in battery energy storage implementation. These technologies have not only been good for the environment, but are more than paying for themselves — resulting in saving more than 60,000 gallons of diesel fuel per year.
60,000 gallons of diesel fuel per year!
Did you just read that? Let me restate it in very clear terms.
60,000 gallons of diesel fuel per year – eliminated!
That’s 610 tons of carbon dioxide eliminated from entering our rapidly warming atmosphere. Insert thunderous applause here, please!
No matter where you live, or where you’re from, share this success story with your friends, your family, and your city leaders and change agents. This is a good news story that all of us should be aware of. Change is possible and it can be positive. When shrouded in climate crisis doubt, ask yourself, “What would Cordova do?”