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Science & Environment

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Science and environmental reporting on news and community topics. Science coverage is occasionally provided by community members.
  • CABINET Unalaska PUBLIC UTILITIES 2021.jpeg
    Maggie Nelson
    The Unalaska Department of Public Utilities is upgrading electrical equipment that’s caused some of the island’s recent power outages.The new, more robust transformers will be able to better handle the harsh Aleutian weather, according to acting public utilities director Steve Tompkins. They’re also equipped for possible upgrades to the island’s energy grid, such as renewable energy from nearby Makushin Volcano.
  • Unalaska.jpeg
    Courtesy of Tacho
    A power outage caught Unalaskans by surprise Thursday evening when most of the island went dark.According to the island’s acting public utilities director, Steve Tompkins, a failed transformer caused the outage, which occurred around 5:30 p.m. and lasted nearly five hours.“Initial indications were that a unit had tripped offline,” Tompkins said. “And it caused an overload on the other unit, which took itself offline. And it resulted in a near universal outage.”Standard Oil Hill was the only area on the island that didn’t lose power during the first outage, he said.