Jun 23, 2010
Last year Eagle Village, on Alaska’s Yukon River, was devastated by a spring flood that swept massive blocks of river ice through the historic town destroying all homes and businesses in its path. The damage was devastating.
We watched as FEMA responded ably and quickly and volunteers from around the world pitched in to successfully build new homes for residents whose lives had been washed away. Everyone was buttoned up tightly by winter – a proud ending to a tragic chapter of Eagle Village’s history.
Now a new chapter in the history of Eagle Village is beginning.
Alaska Power & Telephone Company (AP&T) is poised to take an historic plunge in the Yukon River near the towns of Eagle and Eagle Village this week with the cutting-edge deployment of Alaska’s first 25-kilowatt low-impact hydrokinetic river turbine. The first of its type to be placed into commercial service, the in-stream turbine, manufactured by New Energy Corp., is a 4-blade vertical axis unit mounted on a floating platform. The slow-spinning turbine (22 rpm max) produces no emissions, requires no dam and poses very little risk to marine life
With the help of 3.2 million dollars in grant funding from the Denali Commission of Alaska, the native town of Eagle Village will likely become the first in America to become powered solely by a renewable river-turbine hydrokinetic energy source.
The project is interesting in itself but the fact that Eagle Village, in a remote area off the road system for most of the year, is set to become the poster child for utilizing renewable energy, and from the currents of a river that took so much from it, will be an interesting story to follow.
Much better to harness the renewable energy of our rivers and oceans than to endanger them in the quest to capitalize on the finite resources beneath them.