Unalaska geothermal power plant;
Construction begins summer 2021
Click here to go to the full PDF version of this issue, with any maps, photos or other artwork that appears in
some of the articles.
Ounalashka Corp. and Chena Power LLC, OCCP, plans to begin the first stages of construction in 2021 of an 18-to-30-megawatt geothermal energy plant on the eastern flank of the Makushin Volcano on Unalaska Island, to supply electrical power to the City of Unalaska power grid.
The partnership intends to substantially complete access road and work pad construction in the 2021 summer season, having completed environmental, archaeological, biological and physical field surveys for the road from Broad Bay to the power plant site last year, according to a May update on the project.
Mother Nature gave the project a helping hand during the 2020-21 winter, bringing storms that shifted the river mouth 200 meters north to form a new beach at the Broad Bay landing site, OCCP said.
A new geothermal resource reconfirmation well will be drilled at the site and tested in 2021, OCCP said.
Ultimately OCCP plans to drill three 13 5/8-inch diameter production wells and two 10 ¾ inch diameter injection wells to depths of approximately 2,000 feet.
OCCP said it will finalize subsea cable routing and permit requirements in 2021. Contractor TerraSond Precision Geospatial Solutions has commenced work in April with the Dutch Harbor based F/V Miss Alyssa, to perform the geophysical route survey for the project’s subsea cable.
A pair of power cables and a pair of communication transmission cables will be buried underground onshore, with a subsea portion traversing 3.2 miles of the 14-mile route from the power plant to the City of Unalaska.
Unalaska power purchase agreement signedOCCP signed a 30-year power purchase agreement with the City of Unalaska for geothermal power in 2020, it said.
The geothermal electrical generation facility is designed with a 30-year design life, to provide wholesale power which will replace existing diesel generation with zero carbon emission green energy for the City of Unalaska and its industry, OCCP said. The target date to begin commercial operations is Oct. 13, 2023.
OCCP completed its project design criteria in 2020, establishing the specification framework for project development participants, it said.
“There is significant infrastructure at Unalaska, and it will be utilized as a base for our development scheme,” the partnership said.
OCCP said it has assembled a world-class team of professionals and research for “the management and successful execution of an alternative energy solution.”
The partnership has developed a class 3 level project development budget for financial investors, it said, adding that in 2021 its goal is to secure long term project financing independently or through collaborative partnership.
OCCP is an LLC partnership 51% owned by Ounalashka Corp., an Alaska Native Village corporation with approximately 500 shareholders, and 49% owned by Chena Power LLC, a privately held Fairbanks-based entity that installed the first geothermal power plant in Alaska, which serves as a demonstration of the Organic Rankine Cycle technology for rural Alaska, OCCP said.
The land and subsurface rights around the resource are controlled by Ounalashka Corp.
The project will be financed by a combination of debt and equity, OCCP said. Options currently being explored, and combinations thereof, are a sale of up to 30% equity in the LLC; 80% debt financing; financing via energy related bonds; and grants.
- STEVE SUTHERLIN