Generating Possibilities: Alternative Energy in the NANA Region

The State of Alaska Legislative Budget & Audit committee recently approved 77 recommended projects in round one of the Renewable Energy Fund process.  More than $16.5 million dollars were approved for projects in the NANA Region.

“This is an incredible opportunity to reduce in-region energy costs, and for NANA companies to develop industry leadership in the alternative energies market,” said Jay Hermanson, the WHPacific program manager who helped to spearhead the efforts to acquire the funding. “These projects will also provide opportunities for village economic development by potentially reducing the cost of power and creating jobs.

Wind projects29811241215748KOTZWindFarm1.JPG

The bulk of the funding is allocated for wind-diesel development and expansion in the NANA region. The goal of the $10 million dollar project is to design and install wind power generation systems for the villages of Buckland, Deering, and Noorvik.  NANA Regional Corporation worked hand in hand with the Northwest Arctic Borough, the applicant/recipient, for these series of projects.   An additional $4 million dollars was awarded to Kotzebue Electric Association (KEA) and will fund an expansion of the Kotzebue wind farm.

AVEC Projects for Ambler & Kobuk

Another one of NANA’s partners in rural development, Alaska Village Electric Cooperative (AVEC), was awarded half-million dollar solar photovoltaic (PV) electricity generation construction project for Ambler. Photovoltaic generation converts sunlight directly into electricity; these systems are also sometimes called solar panels.  This solar energy will be used to supplement existing heating systems for up to six months of the year.

AVEC was also awarded $1 million dollar hydroelectric power feasibility study for the Upper Kobuk region to evaluate potential for new hydroelectric technologies to benefit villages and potential projects in the area. The use of in-stream turbines, as well as other technologies, will be evaluated during the study. A particular emphasis on the protection of subsistence resources will be a focus of this study. 

Wood-fired projects

Finally, the Northwest Inupiat Housing Authority (NIHA) was awarded roughly a quarter of a million dollars for a study to investigate if wood-fired combined heat and power (CHP) systems can reduce overall heating costs. The study will also collect forest inventory data for the upper Kobuk River area to determine if a “sustainable yield” of biomass is possible in the area for both power generation and heating.

These projects are an example of how NANA is effectively working in partnership to proactively address the energy crisis that the NANA Region faces.

About NANA Development Corporation

NANA is one of 13 regional corporations formed under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANSCA). NANA’s six business lines encompass a wide cross-section of industries including engineering and construction; resource development; information technology and telecommunications; facilities management & logistics; and real estate and hotel development.  

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