• Kongiganak

    Kongiganak, AK (population 650) is a primarily Yup’ik Eskimo village situated on the Kongiganak River, near Kuskokwim Bay in southwest Alaska.

    The community’s microgrid is powered by two 200 kW diesel generators, at a cost of ~60 cents/kW to residents. Heating fuel costs about $5/gallon and consumes about half of household income. In 2010, five 95 kW wind turbines were installed in this often windy community to harness the wind resource and to reduce the fuel consumed for electricity generation. The installation was part of the Chaninik Wind Group formed by neighboring tribal governments in Kongiganak, Kwigilliingok, Tuntutuliak, and Kipnuk after realizing that working together was the only way to survive the increasing fuel costs. Twenty ceramic thermal electric stoves were also installed in community residences to use electricity from excess wind generation and reduce heating fuel costs. The wind turbines offset up to 30 – 40% of the diesel required to meet the community’s base electric load, and the thermal stoves have made a barrel of heating fuel last up to six weeks instead of two. The community attempted to install running water to all homes a few years ago. However, the project was never realized as logistics issues meant digging the pipes under the tundra and risking them freezing by the permafrost. The community members still collect their water from a Village Safe Water treatment plant in barrels, and frugal use of water in the home is employed.

  • Tanana

    Tanana, Alaska, USA (population 308) is a primarily Athabaskan community located near the confluence of the Tanana and Yukon Rivers in Interior Alaska.

    The Tanana microgrid is powered by a diesel generator, and the community has a single water treatment plant/laundromat (washeteria) that serves as a distribution point for drinking water.The community lacks public water and wastewater distribution lines.While there is no permanent road access, the State of Alaska recently constructed a gravel road terminating approximately 5 miles east of town on the opposite side of the Yukon River. Thus, residents have wintertime road access over the frozen river, and rely on barge and air freight in the warm season.

    In November 2007, Tanana installed two 425,000 Btu/hour cordwood-fired biomass boilers in its city washeteria. That project has reduced oil consumption in the washeteria by approximately 50%. Since then, the biomass program has expanded to three biomass-fired boilers in the washeteria, one in the fire station, four in the school, one in the city workshop, four in public housing, and two more newly installed in a triplex and a greenhouse. Due to the success of the biomass program, city manager Jeff Weltzin has expressed interest in our proposed work, and seeks to explore with us the broader ramifications of bringing other forms of renewable energy to his community.

  • Cordova

    Cordova, AK (population 2,239) is a maritime fishing community located in southcentral Alaska on the shores of Prince William Sound, near the mouth of the Copper River.

    The city derives its power from a hydroelectric facility along with a diesel generator. Most community residencies are connected to the city water and wastewater treatment plants. According to mayor and utility manager Clay Koplin, Cordova has become a community of young families, and there is a growing interest in gardening, home food production, and clean safe drinking water. In addition to the mayor’s expressed interest in participating in the project, Cordova was selected for study as a means to address the scalability of the MicroFEWs modelling process. Cordova is larger than most isolated Alaska communities, and hosts a more robust industrial base (e.g., several commercial seafood processing facilities). Hence, evaluating FEW interactions on this scale will provide insights into the broader applicability of MicroFEWs.

  • Igiugig

    Igiugig, AK (population 69) is situated at the mouth of the Kvichak River, on Lake Iliamna, in southwest Alaska.

    The village’s population consists mainly of Yup’ik Eskimos, Aleuts, and Athabascan Indians. The community’s microgrid is powered by a diesel generator that was upgraded in 2011 as a step towards integrating renewable sources of energy, such as the Ocean Renewable Power Company (ORPC) hydrokinetic project under development in the Kvichak River. ORPC was recently awarded a grant through Alaska’s Emerging Energy Technology Fund program to continue development and demonstration of a microgrid controller and grid forming inverter capable of dispatching multiple types of renewable resources in an effort to increase renewable penetration levels on microgrids and ultimately operate in “diesel off” mode." Igiugig also has several small wind turbines, and the community is exploring options for solar photovoltaic power. Residents maintain several greenhouses as well as a community chicken coop and are eager to explore more local food options.