Alaska’s salmon hub and DOE explore hydropower’s potential to meet the region’s energy and resiliency needs

January 31, 2023 9:19 am Published by

Sandia National Laboratories collaborated with the National Renewable Energy and Pacific Northwest National laboratories through the Energy Transitions Initiative Partnership Project (ETIPP) to ensure the remote town of Dillingham, Alaska, had dedicated technical assistance for accurately assessing the potential impacts of a low-impact, run-of-river hydropower project.

Located in Bristol Bay, Dillingham is home to the world’s largest run of sockeye salmon. Identifying a source of clean, affordable, and reliable energy could help meet the ever-growing global demand for wild Alaskan salmon and the community’s environmental goals.

After reviewing more than 60 years of U.S. Geological Survey stream flow data, the town’s local utility, Nushagak Electric and Telephone Cooperative (NETC), identified a location on the Nuyakuk River that hosts ideal conditions for a low-impact, run-of-river hydropower project. Thushara Gunda, a hydrologist at Sandia, worked closely with community members to help design a support tool that allows the cooperative to understand and assess the potential economic impacts of this hydropower project.

“This work is really a community-driven effort,” said Gunda. “As a cooperative, NETC is really mindful of its stakeholders’ needs and actively includes the entire community in technical conversations, project milestones, and future plans. It’s been incredibly inspiring to be part of that.”

Read the full version of this article, originally published on the Water Power Technologies Office website, to learn more about the Dillingham ETIPP technical assistance project and what’s potentially around the riverbend for the community. También disponible para leer en español.

ENERGY RESILIENCE – The Nushagak Electric and Telephone Cooperative is conducting a feasibility study to evaluate if a run-of-the-river hydropower project would meet the community’s energy and environmental goals.

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