Power Gen Team Builds Gensets for Alaska Villages
Two remote villages in Alaska are anxiously awaiting the arrival of several generator sets that are set to be delivered at the end of summer. The systems will be the sole source of power for each of these hamlets.
Production of the gensets is underway at our facility in Ridgefield, Washington, giving the team a formidable challenge.
“It’s definitely a tight schedule,” said Nick Graves, our Power Gen team member in Anchorage who is overseeing the project. “The gensets are scheduled to be on the last barge of the season that is headed to both communities.”
Powering Rural Communities
Alaska’s vast land mass and its abundance of rural communities in isolated locales has meant the state since its inception has subsidized residential electric bills for these outposts. The Alaska Energy Authority oversees those payments as well as providing indirect subsidies through grants that allow towns to buy new power equipment.
The Rural Power System Upgrade was created in 1999 and is one of those subsidies. It allows communities with populations of between 20 and 200 residents who live in areas unconnected to a major hydroelectric grid to receive a grant. More than $192 million in grants has been dispersed between 2001 and 2015.
Port Heiden and Clarks Point
The villages of Port Heiden and Clarks Point are taking advantage of the state grants to replace their aging generators that currently supply power to the residents of each coastal community.
Port Heiden lies 345 miles southwest of Anchorage at the mouth of the Meshink River and the edge of the Bering Sea. The 100 people that call Port Heiden home deal with the punishing weather that the sea creates.
Clarks Point is 340 miles southwest of Anchorage and tucked into the northeast shore of Nushagak Bay. The community of 62 people recently reopened its school in a bid to lure back residents who have left.
Keeping the Lights On
Each village ordered three generator sets that are being built at our state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Ridgefield. Our technicians are feverishly working to finish the work in time for the equipment to catch the last barge headed to Alaska.
The urgency is compounded by the knowledge that the new generators are desperately needed for villagers who will be facing the brutal conditions of winter. The current power source for Port Heiden and Clarks Point are old and unreliable.