By Ellen Lockyer, KSKA, Anchorage
Alaska’s rural villages are getting help from the most recent technological advances in energy saving power systems. The Alaska Energy Authority hosted a rural energy open house in Anchorage Wednesday to show off its latest services to the bush, among them a state of the art modular powerhouse destined for shipment to Akiak.
From the outside, the powerhouse looks like a typical ATCO module, but inside, it looks more like the bridge of the Starship Enterprise.
Last year, the village of Akiak lost power for over two days. Part of the problem was old equipment that didn’t meet state and federal codes.
Kris Noonan is a manager for AEA’s rural power system program. He says replacing old, inefficient power systems with electronic equipment, like the new power house, is helping rural Alaska save fuel expenses.
The powerhouse redirects what once was wasted heat so that it can be used to heat additional areas.
AEA intern Corey Fedders says the new power houses in rural Alaska can be monitored remotely by computers in Anchorage. With remote capability, Anchorage technicians can help on-site power operators to diagnose problems.
AEA is working to replace old, inefficient power systems in the bush with diesel fueled powerhouses as part of it’s rural power upgrades program which is done in cooperation with the Denali Commission.