Alternative Energy in Alaska Explored by Toghotthele for Nenana
Alternative energy sources have been explored since 2009 by Toghetthele Corporation according to a presentation made recently in Nenana, Alaska. Toghetthele is the Nenana area Native corporation. Jim Sackett, CEO of the corporation was at a recent meeting of the Wellness in Nenana Coalition, and brought attendees up to speed on Toghetthele projects.
Toghotthele is interested in furthering several projects for Nenana, according to WIN, and Sackett concurs. He explained that there is a very precisely defined process to get grant funds to help build a bio-mass system, which begins with a pre-feasibility study, says WIN attendee Kat McElroy who provides the meeting minutes. Hacket says that Brian Hirsch and the Alaska Energy Authority (AEA) have been working with them on this, and the initial analysis suggests that they go with a bio-mass wood chip system.
Sacket says that a bio-mass plant for heat to Nenana City Public School is being looked into, McElroy says. This method of alternative energy generation could come in the form of a second bio-mass generator for the Nenana Student Living Center (NSLC), located several blocks away in Nenana. NSLC is close, but not close enough to make sharing the school generator an option, Sacket says.
“We have two technical experts arriving from National Renewable Energy Laboratories (NREL), Golden, Colorado today,” said Hacket on Monday, April 9, 2012. “We also have two arriving from Alaska Energy Authority (AEA) to help us with planning. Then in three weeks we’ll be conducting our pre-feasability study. With those two pieces of the puzzle complete we’ll be able to apply to AEA for design & construction funding in August. If we are selected we can begin building in 2013,” he concluded.
This would be similar to what was done down in Tok, says McElroy. Chris Gaul of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory will be involved in analyzing the study data. Any red flags along the way, of course, could slow the project down.
There would be several immediate benefits of such a project for our community, say minutes. The first would be the positive impact it would have on the estimated $100k currently budgeted annually to heat our school, a cost that can only climb as the price for petroleum rises. Hence, this would be a huge step in decreasing our dependency on petroleum. Secondly, it would create several fulltime permanent jobs, in the logging arena as well as plant management. Such employment would require a strong work ethic but on-job training could be provided.
If all goes well, a Combined Heat and Power project could be worked on. The idea of having greenhouse to grow food locally was reacted to with vigorous discussion. It is understood that other natural resource development is in the works. Jim pointed out that due to the regulatory process, if natural gas is found out on the basin, the very soonest it could be brought in online would be 2022.
Photo Credit: Toghetthele Corporation’s Jim Sacket
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