U.S. Senator Mark Begich today announced that Alaskans living in rural areas would soon see relief from high energy costs as a result of three significant grants made to the Kipnuk Light Plant, Alaska Village Electric Cooperative, and the Denali Commission.
“This is great news for Alaskans across the state living in more remote areas who are burdened by the extremely high cost of energy,” said Begich. “These funds will help communities lower their fuel use, use energy more efficiently, and improve their energy infrastructure. These updates and improvements will put more money in the pockets of Alaska and move our local economies forward.”
The funds are being provided through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) High Energy Cost Grant program, which is administered by the Rural Development’s Rural Utilities Service. Resources will be used to improve and update energy generation, transmission or distribution facilities that serve communities where the average residential cost for home energy exceeds 275 percent of the national average. Grants are available to businesses, non-profit entities, states, local governments and federally recognized Indian tribes.
Alaska’s recipients are listed below:
· Kipnuk Light Plant: $2,974,816 – To produce energy from wind, heat and diesel power. This is expected to lower home heating fuel use by 8,800 gallons and reduce the amount of fuel required for power generation by 35-40 percent. The community of Kipnuk generates its own power and is not tied into grids of neighboring communities or into other power providers.
· Alaska Village Electric Cooperative, Inc.: $358,800 – To replace a 23-year-old, inefficient generator serving the citizens of Noatak, which has very high energy costs due to the lack of roads or barge systems. All fuel and other supplies must be flown in. The funding will also help reduce heating costs for community facilities by adding a heat recovery system.
· The Denali Commission: $2,310,686 – To build or improve energy facilities in rural Alaskan communities. Most rural areas in Alaska qualify for High Energy Cost Grant assistance.