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Nuvista Moves On YK Region Energy Plan

(Anchorage, Alaska – February 24, 2012) – Nuvista Light and Electric Cooperative has signed a contract with Hatch Engineering for Chikuminuk Lake hydropower. Hatch has 80 years of experience with projects large and small in over 150 countries. The agreement includes numerous subcontractor companies from throughout Alaska, including Anchorage, Fairbanks, Wasilla and Bethel.

The Chikuminuk Lake hydropower project is one of the most significant energy infrastructure projects in rural Alaska. Located at the northern end of Wood Tikchik State Park, it has the potential to supply electrical power to Bethel and 14 or more other communities in an economically depressed region dependent on diesel. 

“Finding a regional alternative to diesel fuel for electricity would displace over five million gallons of diesel per year barged into Bethel alone, and reduce 55,000 tons of carbon dioxide,” said Nuvista Executive Director Elaine “Chicky” Brown. “Our Coop has made great strides toward a comprehensive regional energy plan for the Yukon-Kuskokwim region.”

The Chikuminuk Lake Hydropower Project was approved and authorized in 2011 based on a $10 million appropriation by the Alaska State Legislature. The funding allows Nuvista to perform detailed field work in geotechnical, environmental, preliminary engineering, licensing, and public meetings related to a hydropower project that could be the first of its kind anywhere in Southwest Alaska. 

Brown continued, “This project has the potential to positively change the cost and availability of energy in the Calista region for both families and businesses. Rural Alaska can no longer sustain the diesel fuel required by antiquated power systems. Partnering with elected officials, state agencies, and regional organizations, our coordinated efforts at energy solutions could decisively change the course of energy economics in the Calista region.”

Nuvista Light and Electric Cooperative is a non-profit member organization comprised of Calista Corporation, Association of Village Council Presidents, AVCP Rural Housing Authority, Yukon Kuskokwim Health Corporation, Alaska Village Electric Cooperative, Middle Kuskokwim Electric, Chaninik Wind, and Lower Yukon. Each member has a seat on the board of directors, with both Calista and AVCP having three directors each. Focusing on the Yukon-Kuskokwim region, Nuvista’s mission is to improve the energy economics in rural Alaska by creating energy generation and transmission infrastructure to serve, connect and enable the region to attain affordable, long term energy sustainability and self-sufficiency.

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