Kootznoowoo, Inc. recently received notification by the Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations (OCED) within the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) that they have been awarded a $26.9 million grant.  This grant will support building an 850 kilowatt run-of-the-river hydroelectric facility and transmission line at Thayer Creek just outside of Angoon, Alaska.  Once completed, the facility will provide the power supply for Angoon, which has a population of around 357 residents.

“For several years, Kootznoowoo, Inc. has been working with key partners including the U.S. Forest Service to bring hydroelectricity to Angoon,” said Kootznoowoo President & CEO Thomas E. Wilbur.  “This DOE grant, along with the funding already received from the Denali Commission and the State of Alaska provides the project with 95% of the funding needed for completion of the hydro project.”

Last week, OCED announced awards of more than $366 million for 17 projects across 20 states and 30 Tribal Nations and communities to accelerate clean energy deployment in rural and remote areas in an effort to enhance Tribal energy sovereignty, strengthen energy security, and deliver new economic opportunities.

The Thayer Hydroelectric Project, which will be located about three miles outside of Angoon, has the potential to supply up to three times the community’s current electricity needs. “The advent of cost stable hydro power opens the doors to the possibilities of installing heat pumps in homes and commercial buildings as well as bringing electric boat motors and electric vehicles to the community,” said Mr. Wilbur.  “It will ensure cost stable energy in Angoon for decades to come.”

The hydroelectric project will relegate the existing diesel power plant to an emergency backup system which will displace approximately 120,000 gallons of diesel fuel for electrical generation and has the potential to displace an additional 130,000 gallons of heating fuel annually. The project supports federal climate change objectives by avoiding the release of 2,800 tons of CO2 annually.

In 1980, Congress granted Kootznoowoo, Inc. the right to develop hydroelectric resources on Admiralty Island as part of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA). This act was an effort by the federal government to reconcile the national need to preserve the natural and recreational values with the economic and cultural needs and expectations of Kootznoowoo, Inc., due to the establishment of the Admiralty Island National Monument. However, the agreement did not include funding. This project aims to provide an avenue to address this historical oversight and support access to reliable and affordable energy for the people of Angoon.

Ralph “Chico” Bierely

K-Plaza Building Maintenance Manager

Chico serves as a jack-of-all-trades for the corporation. His main responsibility is overseeing the maintenance and upkeep of the K-Plaza building. However, he provides additional support when needed on a variety of projects. He is based in Juneau.