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Alaska a leader in micro-hydro

September 07, 2012

Alaska is a leader in micro-hydro energy generation. One only has to look at the upper Lynn Canal, where Haines and Skagway receive almost all their electrical energy from micro-hydro sources.

Alaska as a state has the second highest per capita energy use in the nation at 946 Mmbtu per person. The State of Alaska has a goal of deriving half its power from renewable energy sources by 2025. Today about 17% of the State’s electricity is generated by hydro power.

A micro-hydro facility is usually considered to one that produces less than 10 MW of electricity. One area where micro-hydro is very important is the upper Lynn Canal. Haines and Skagway have diesel plants with installed capacity of 9.8 MW of diesel‐generated power, but they usually receive their power from 4 nearby micro-hydro plants power plants (over 8.3 MW of hydroelectric power):


The steep mountains near Haines and Skagway are ideal for micro-hydro. The Municipality of Skagway is investigating the development of a hydroelectric dam project at West Creek. That facility has the capacity to produce 25 to 50 MW of power in the future. The intent of this project is to complete transmission lines to connect it to the Yukon Energy electric grid and sell power to Canada.