Last month the finishing touches were put onto the Allison Creek Hydroelectric Project. Backing up water through Allison Creek, it builds pressure as it approaches a steep drop and turbine below. Thus another power provider has become one of the utilities to run off renewable power. Copper Valley Electric Association commissioned the $50 million Allison Creek in early October so as to eliminate diesel. “Right now we are 100 percent hydro power, and it feels great,” said Travis Million, CEO said in Valdez, ( just under 10,000 pop.).
This will provide supplemental hydro power from Solomon Gulch Dam ( breakup to freezeup). When the ice hits, the utility turns on diesel-powered generators. The project is half state and half privately funded so Copper Valley Electrical Association will end up paying about a million dollars a year for the next three decades to pay the project off at current fuel price levels. The utility will join other coastal communities like Sitka, Juneau, Kodiak, Cordova which have been able to cut out diesel power seasonally (and in some cases all year).
While finessing with good engineering the power out of a free resource at hand, another community is able to diversify its electrical provisions!