Adak looks to replace costly diesel with abundant hydropower

Craig MedredAlaska Dispatch

According to Unalaska's KUCB (via Alaska Public Radio), the Aleutian Island community of Adak plans to use its most plentiful natural resource – water – to cut down its skyrocketing power bills.

The town of 150 has struggled to keep the power on, and recently the city turned over authority to run Adak’s World War II-era diesel power plant to the Native village corporation TDX. Power continued to flow, but monthly bills could exceed $600, according to KUCB.

So Adak -- which is Alaska’s wettest town, with an average of 263 rainy days per year -- is studying a move to hydroelectric power with a goal of bringing electric rates down by 75 percent. Dams are already in place from Adak’s days as a naval base. The town would need to set up turbines and make improvements to its electrical grid. A U.S. Department of Commerce analysis is studying how fast the conversion can happen.

Although the feds are paying for most of the study, Adak is chipping in $40,000 -- or 4 percent of the city’s annual budget.  The aim to have it completed next year.

“You know, cheap reliable power, I think that’s every community’s dream,” says city Layton Locket. “We hope to make it a reality, and sooner rather than later.”

Read much more, here.