The Kootznoowoo Tourism & Natural Resources (KTNR) department was recently notified that it had been awarded over $28 million in grant awards for the Thayer Creek Hydroelectric Project. The applications for these grants were submitted in 2023 under KTNR. The largest award was from the Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations (OCED) within the U.S. Department of Energy, which awarded KTNR $26.8 million. In early March, 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 addition to the OCED grant, KTNR also received notification that it was awarded a $500,000 grant from the Bureau of Indian Affairs Tribal Electrification Program and a $987,000 grant from the Denali Commission.

These grant awards will support building an 850 kilowatt run-of-the-river hydroelectric facility and transmission line at Thayer Creek just outside of Angoon. Once completed, the facility will provide the power supply for Angoon. It 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. “For several years now, Kootznoowoo, Inc. has been working with key partners to bring hydroelectricity to Angoon,” said Kootznoowoo President & CEO Thomas E. Wilbur. “These grants provide the hydro project with most of the funding needed. Once complete, Thayer will ensure cost stable energy in Angoon for decades to come.”

Meetings have already been conducted with both the DOE and BIA to begin budget revisions and contract negotiations. Additionally, meetings continue with project engineers to revise project budgets and outline contracts.

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. 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.