PUBLIC UTILITIES

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. 

 

KUCB Staff

 

A number of recent unplanned power outages in Unalaska were caused by an electronic governor — located on one of the city's diesel engines — that needs retuning, according to city officials.

Public Utilities Director Dan Winters said at a City Council meeting Tuesday night that what's supposed to happen is that when the engine is shutting down it comes down automatically, at about 1000 kilowatts and then it will open the breaker. But it's currently shutting down at more than twice that amount — at about 2500 kilowatts — and kicking the breaker.

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.

KUCB Staff

An unplanned electrical outage on Monday left Unalaska without power for more than an hour and a half.

The city-wide outage was caused by a failed transfer switch on East Point Road around 1 p.m., according to the city's Public Utilities Director, Dan Winters.

"It took awhile to find out where the ground fault," he said. "Each component from the powerhouse to the ground fault needs to be tested."

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