Akutan geothermal project continues with funding from Alaska Renewable Energy Fund

Alexander Richter 5 Oct 2009

The geothermal project on Akutan Island continues in Alaska, supported by funds from the city and the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority, as well as a grant from the Alaska Renewable Energy Fund.

Reported from Alaska, “A geophysical survey team is using electromagnetic probes in the remote community of Akutan, Alaska to help investigate the potential of the nearby geothermal resource. If a significant resource is identified this would potentially allow the Eastern Aleutian region to realize a clean, inexpensive and reliable source of energy production.

Currently, the City of Akutan (population 713) and Trident Seafoods, a large plant which operates within the community, use a combined peak of 7 MW of diesel-generated power. The city’s power cost exceeds $0.32 kWh. Development of power from the Akutan geothermal project would eliminate the dependence on diesel fuel, reduce carbon emissions and promote economic and cultural sustainability of Akutan and the region.

The geophysical survey uses electromagnetic probes to detect subsurface electrical patterns to locate the geothermal “reservoir.” The technical team has established a base camp in Hot Springs Bay Valley on Akutan Island. Team members will conduct testing of as many as 50 locations. Local residents Matthew Bereskin and Brett Willis will be working as part of the field crew. Trident Seafoods is providing logistical support between Dutch Harbor and Akutan. City Mayor Joe Bereskin sees the geothermal project as a total community effort.
Exploratory activities began in May 2009, with a soil chemistry survey of the Akutan geothermal area. In June and July, a remote sensing study was conducted by researchers at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, using thermal information from satellite images to detect thermal anomalies in the Akutan geothermal area. The current geophysical survey, using electromagnetic techniques, will aid in detecting subsurface resistivity/conductivity anomalies. Combined, these three surveys – all of which take place on the surface and require no drilling – will help locate the geothermal resource on Akutan.

Currently, the city is operating under an $800,000 loan from the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority, which will carry the project through the end of the year. The City of Akutan was recently awarded a grant from the Alaska Renewable Energy Fund. Those funds are expected to be available within the next three months. The remainder of the $2.59 million in Alaska Energy Authority grant funding will go towards the drilling of geothermal wells.”

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Source: Indian Country Today