Gustavus uses hydro to go diesel-free
July 5, 2010
By Pat Forgey of the Juneau Empire: Gustavus no longer looks to Juneau, Sitka and Ketchikan and envies their cheap and plentiful hydroelectric power. Instead, other Southeast Alaska communities are looking towards Gustavus and wondering whether they can do what the Icy Strait city did: Overcome decades-long hurdles, and replace its diesel generators with cheap, clean and plentiful hydroelectric power. The community recently held a public celebration of its new Falls Creek Hydroelectric Project, which last year began providing all of Gustavus’ power.
In 2008, Gustavus Electric burned 132,000 gallons of diesel. Gustavus’ diesel generators cost 74 cents per kilowatt-hour to produce power during the peak of fuel prices, with a more recent price of 39 cents per kwh. Falls Creek will bring that cost to under 20 cents. While Gustavus now has surplus power, it didn’t come either cheaply or easily. The total cost of the project was $8.2 million, Levitt said. Read more