Fort Yukon Completes Combined Heat and Power Plant Project
Fort Yukon recently completed the final phase of its combined heat and power plant project, located eight miles north of the Arctic Circle. The community held a highly anticipated ribbon-cutting ceremony on November 11, 2017, as the culmination of at least 10 years of dedicated planning, analysis and construction. The facility was dedicated in honor of community member, David Thomas, who was the plant operator for many years and who played a significant role in the development of the project.
Frannie Hughes, Gwitchyaa Zhee CEO, has been involved with the project since inception and was one of the key members supporting the project’s partnerships, which included the village corporation, Gwitchyaa Zhee, Inc. (GZ), Department of Energy, Denali Commission, Council of Athabascan Tribal Government, Alaska Energy Authority, Doyon, Limited, and State of Alaska Division of Forestry. In attendance at the opening ceremony were Fort Yukon community members, GZ board and staff, Doyon, Limited Materials Engineer Ray Richards, and Village Outreach Liaison Sharon Hildebrand.
“Frannie, David and the community of Fort Yukon put a well-planned, innovative concept together and I really enjoyed supporting this project,” said Richards, who worked with GZ for several years to locate a sufficient gravel material source for the project.
The new power plant will provide a reliable and more efficient source of electricity, as well as utilize a wood chip boiler and a district heating loop, which provides heat to the school facilities, the city’s water treatment plant, KZPA-Gwankdak public radio station, and the state building. Seven buildings are currently heated in this loop, which has capacity for future expansion.
The project also provides Fort Yukon with a community-owned power source, includes a sustainable forest management program, and establishes a for-profit, in-village wood energy utility that reduces demand for high-cost diesel that has to be brought into the community. Doyon, Limited congratulates Fort Yukon on this remarkable accomplishment.