Ounalashka Corporation

Givey Kochanowski / U.S. Department of Energy

 

A decades-long effort to bring geothermal power to Unalaska is finally moving forward. On Thursday, the city signed a 30-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with Ounalashka Corp./Chena Power, LLC for 30 megawatts of geothermal-produced electrical energy from nearby Makushin Volcano. Officials from the U.S. Department of Energy said that if it's successful, Unalaska would be the first community in the nation completely powered by geothermal energy. 

 

Courtesy Rep. Josh Revak

Unalaska is waiting on a free infrastructure report card, courtesy of the U.S. military. 

 

That report will be compiled by civil affairs officers, including U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii. 

 

Gabbard, a former Democratic presidential candidate, visited the island as part of a team last week in her capacity as an Army Reserve major, for meetings and an assessment of Unalaska's future infrastructure needs.

 

Hope McKenney/KUCB

The Ounalashka Corporation (OC) announced Thursday that all burns are banned on their property without prior consent.  

This decision follows two large brush fires that broke out on their land in the past two weeks. 

CEO Chris Salts said they don't want to ban fires outright, but want Unalaskans to get permission ahead of time so the corporation can monitor burning and try to prevent brush fires. 

Courtesy Malcolm Herstand / Alaska Volcano Observatory

The City of Unalaska isn't rushing into a geothermal energy agreement with OC/Chena Power.

While the private company had asked local officials to sign a 30-year power deal by the end of the month, City Manager Erin Reinders said they won't make a decision until they have more information.

"I think some of these larger concepts — how is this going to work? — need to be discussed before we really dig in to the very specific details of a power purchase agreement," said Reinders. 

Courtesy Malcolm Herstand / Alaska Volcano Observatory

A private company looking to develop geothermal energy at Makushin Volcano wants the City of Unalaska to commit to a 30-year power deal by the end of the month.

At a special meeting last week, the City Council heard an update from consultant Mike Hubbard on the energy project proposed by OC/Chena Power.

Pages