Alaska Power and Telephone wins permit for hydro project

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on June 12 granted a three-year preliminary permit to Alaska Power and Telephone Co. to study the feasibility of the proposed West Creek Water Power Project.

The 25-MW project is to be located on West Creek and the West Branch Taiya River near Skagway, Alaska. The estimated annual generation of the West Creek Project would be 110 gigawatt-hours.

A preliminary permit grants a developer an exclusivity period to look at project feasibility, with a license application then needed if the decision is to advance the project further. During the course of the permit, the commission expects that the permittee will carry out prefiling consultation and study development leading to the possible development of a license application.

“The primary purpose for the Project is the supply of electricity to cruise ships that dock in Skagway during the summer months,” the March 18 application noted. “The cruise ships currently generate all power requirements on-board using petroleum fuels, and the resulting exhaust is causing significant environmental degradation. A secondary purpose is the supply of electricity to the local utility to supplement existing generation. Also, discussions are ongoing regarding the export of power to the Yukon Territory, Canada, which expects large future load growth from mineral developments.”

The project was studied extensively in the early 1980s by the Alaska Power Authority. Those studies focused on a 6-MW project to supply power for local consumption. Alaska Power will utilize that prior work, but this new need for generation to meet cruise ship loads requires a much larger capacity than considered in the earlier studies. Each cruise ship can require as much as 11 MW, and there can be three or four cruise ships in port at a time.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.