Alaska seeing first utility-grade geothermal development

Alexander Richter 6 May 2009

Alaska is seeing its first utility grade geothermal development at Naknek.

Reported in Alaska, the northernmost state of the U.S. is seeing its first utility grade geothermal development at Naknek. According to the article by the Alaska Journal of commerce, ”

Naknek Electric Association, banking on a decade of geothermal research and planning, is preparing to drill an exploration well near King Salmon, in a multi-million dollar project with potential to provide power to 28 villages in Southwest Alaska.

“We are very excited about the potential geothermal resource and the enormous benefit to our region,” said Donna Vukich, general manager of NEA, which plans to begin drilling this summer, or early fall. The project would be the first utility-grade geothermal development in Alaska. The initial cost estimate for the generation plant and 450 miles of transmission line interconnecting regional villages is $200 million, NEA officials said.

With residents of Naknek and King Salmon currently paying 43 cents a kilowatt-hour, the introduction of less expensive energy sources can’t come a moment too soon. Estimates are that use of geothermal power could cut the cost of power production by 70 percent.

Other benefits would be a cleaner environment, with elimination of 3.5 million gallons of diesel fuel now used to generate electricity, plus an energy base for long-term economic development, to sustain local communities.

The initial load would be 18 megawatts, with full potential to use 25 megawatts within two years.

NEA has made a considerable investment over the past decade on research, and geological and geophysical work in preparation for the exploratory well, to be drilled to 9,000 to 12,000 feet.

The site, which the utility purchased a year ago, has no known surface anomalies and would be considered a hidden system, Vukich said.”

For further details on the project, I encourage to read the whole article (see link below).

Source: Alaska Journal of Commerce

Additional news sources on the topic:

Utility prepares for geothermal exploration well (

Naknek Electric Association poised to drill geothermal exploration drill near King Salmon (