Village of Igiugig, ORPC Launch Sustainable River Energy Project
Gathering of Igiugig Village, ORPC, and guests of RivGen power system launch.
IGIUGIG—The Igiugig Village Council (IVC) and ORPC, Inc. launched ORPC’s commercial RivGen Power System, a unique sustainable solution now available to remote river communities in Alaska and worldwide.
Governor Mike Dunleavy and a crowd of over sixty people gathered at Lake Iliamna and the Kvichak River in Igiugig for the unveiling of ORPC’s first commercial device, which will be deployed long term in the Kvichak River within the next few days. The 40-kW power system will provide up to one-half of the Igiugig community’s electricity needs annually and will reduce use of expensive and environmentally risky diesel fuel. Plans are underway for installation of a second RivGen device in conjunction with smart microgrid electronics and energy storage. When completed, the system will reduce diesel usage by 90 percent.
“For millennia the mighty Kvichak River has sustained us with the greatest sockeye salmon run on earth,” AlexAnna Salmon, Igiugig Village Council President stated. “For now, it supplies us 100 percent of the purest drinking water, flowing from Alaska’s largest lake. It is high time that the Kvichak supplies 100 percent of our energy needs. Our Village has always believed that if it can be done here, it can be done anywhere on the globe.”
“The project is a centerpiece of the community’s long-term economic and environmental vision, sustainably fits with the local river’s salmon resource and addresses occurrences such as seasonal ice impacts in the Kvichak,” she further remarked.
“Projects that lower the cost of power in rural Alaska, like the RivGen Power System we saw today in Igiugig, are key to making Alaska’s small communities and villages economical and vibrant places to work and raise a family,” said Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy. “I will be closely following the progress of the deployment of the RivGen system over the coming months and I am hopeful that similar projects can be developed to reduce energy costs for our smaller communities.”
Steve DeWitt, US Department of Energy said the project will benefit the domestic hydrokinetic industry by increasing knowledge of marine energy systems, the interaction of underwater turbines with salmon and how systems contribute to providing stable power for local microgrids. “With this data in hand, we hope that other communities considering similar systems will be able to make, with greater confidence, the right decisions for their community’s future,’ DeWitt said. “I believe that what we are doing here in Igiugig is a model for what can happen throughout Alaska and Canada, in other similar small, independent communities.”
“ORPC’s RivGen Power System is the future of sustainability for remote river communities around the world. A staggering 700 million people live in remote communities that rely on diesel fuel to power their homes,” said ORPC Chairman, Co-founder and CEO, Christopher R. Sauer. “ORPC provides a sustainable solution that combines our patented power systems with smart grid electronics and energy storage to build the no-carbon microgrids of the future.”
The Igiugig Village Council is the first tribal entity in the US to be issued a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission hydrokinetic pilot project license. The Igiugig Hydrokinetic Project is supported by the US Dept. of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) under the Water Power Technologies Office Award Number DE-EE0007348; the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture; the Alaska Energy Authority; the Igiugig Village Council and private investors.
In Alaska, ORPC works with over eighty partners, contractors and consultants, and since 2009, has spent over $5 million in the state.
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When Bristol Bay Native Corporation (BBNC) first aired TV commercials featuring the tagline, “A Place That’s Always Been,” the reaction was surprising. Not only because they received numerous accolades and marketing awards for the campaign but because, at the time, it was rare for Alaska Native corporations to market themselves through the media.