Angoon hydroelectric project advances

Kootznoowoo, Incorporated, the Alaska Native village corporation for the community of Angoon, recently entered into an amended grant agreement for the Thayer Creek Hydropower Development Transmission Project.

According to Kootznoowoo Board Chair Melissa Kookesh, the hydropower project has been in development for over three decades.

The project recently received the green light to move forward with the completion of the project’s design, thanks to increased funding through an amendment to the previous grant provided by the Alaska Energy Authority (AEA). Board Chair Kookesh and AEA Executive Director Curtis Thayer recently signed the amendment which increased the funding by nearly $1 million. This grant, when added to a $100,000.00 contribution from the Inside Passage Electric Cooperative, will provide the total funding necessary to bring the project to a shovel ready construction threshold in early 2021.

“This grant is a significant and positive step forward for Thayer Creek and the community of Angoon,” said Kookesh. “One of the biggest challenges when working to secure construction funding is the unknown costs of the project. This funding will allow the project to move from 35% to 100% completion of the design phase so the final project costs can be better defined.”

Under the terms of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act, Kootznoowoo, Inc. has the right to develop the hydropower project on Admiralty Island. The project area is in the lower 8,500 feet of Thayer Creek and the area between Thayer Creek and the City of Angoon. All project facilities, except the underwater transmission line and related facilities in Kootznoowoo Inlet, are located on National Forest System lands. The United States Forest Service has recently provided a statement of support for the project and are working closely with Kootznoowoo, Inc. as the design becomes final.

Currently, Angoon’s energy costs are approximately $.62 to .64 per kilowatt-hour which is five times higher the national average and is among the highest in Alaska due to the use of diesel generated power to provide electricity.

“With this grant, we are moving closer to bringing hydropower to Angoon,” said Kookesh. “This will not only provide more efficient and eco-friendly energy, but it will improve affordability for Angoon-area residents through reduced energy costs and provide greater opportunities for commercial development in the community.”