This proposed run-of-river project will generate year-round and produce up to 12 MWs of power, depending on the season and associated river flow. Electricity and optical fiber would be provided to the communities of Dillingham, Aleknagik, Koliganek, New Stuyahok, Ekwok and Levelock, also supporting the electric and communications needs of Bristol Bay’s incredible wild salmon industry in these communities. Project generation potential has been estimated using over 60 years of federally collected site-specific flow data. Based upon this analysis, the seasonal generation capacity matches, or exceeds, the demand for power in these communities. This project will replace up to 1.5 million gallons of diesel fuel annually. Hydroelectric projects in Alaska have a successful history of providing electric rate reduction, reduced dependence on fossil fuels, carbon emissions mitigation and longevity. Several hydro facilities in Alaska have been in operation for more than a century and many more are currently displaying the same type of longevity potential. We believe the combination of renewable energy and increased broadband access will provide the basis for economic and social improvement and growth in the region for generations to come.
This Nuyakuk River Project location provides many advantages for low-impact hydroelectric development. Twenty Six feet of elevation drop occurs rapidly through a series of falls in a 2500’ stretch of river. The location of these falls at an oxbow (bend) would allow for a flow diversion of only 1500’ without the need for a dam. Our intent is to meet generation goals while at the same time having minimal negative impact on the environment. Key project characteristics include:
- Natural topographic and hydrologic features that benefit diversion and reintroduction of flow
- Vast upstream lake system that captures 1544 square miles of watershed and acts as a natural sediment trap
- Low visual impact site with minimal project footprint
- No disturbance of the natural course of the river
- Short bypass reach (portion of the river that is affected) through falls area that possesses limited to no rearing or spawning habitat
- Potentially positive impact for upstream fish passage through the bypass reach via reduction of high water velocities that currently create intermittent velocity barriers during key migration periods
After two years of desktop project feasibility studies and over ninety project outreach meetings, in October of 2019, NETC filed our Pre Application Document initiating the FERC Integrated Licensing Process (ILP) timeline. Recently NETC received letters and resolutions stating concern for the effects of COVID-19 and the Bristol Bay fishing season on the ability to effectively participate in the licensing process study plan development, specifically the aquatics and fish passage studies that all consider paramount. Initially, these entities requested a delay of 12 months to the ILP schedule. NETC received these correspondences during the last week of May from five regional entities, Bristol Bay Economic Development Corporation, Bristol Bay Native Association, Bristol Bay Area Health Corporation, Bristol Bay Housing Authority and United Tribes of Bristol Bay. On June 8th NETC received a copy of a consistent resolution passed by the Wood Tikchik Management Council at their meeting on May 27th. ( Letters of Concern
Responses to LOC ) While NETC does not agree with all the conclusions in these correspondences, we do respect the entities and want to address their concerns. NETC consulted with FERC on June 2nd regarding these topics which lead to a request for an Abeyance (a suspension of the schedule) to the ILP timeline. The request was submitted June 7th and approved by FERC on June 9th.
During this Abeyance the ILP timeline is suspended and will be reinitiated when NETC resubmits a Proposed Study Plan. During this Abeyance it is NETC’s intent to create an Aquatics Resources Working Group, inviting subject matter technical experts to participate in evaluating and creating Aquatics and Fish Passage studies. It is also NETC’s intent to hold additional in-person public meetings as soon as it is safe to do so. It is our hope that this voluntary effort will alleviate the concerns expressed.