March 18, 2011
From the Dutch Harbor Fisherman: “This was started by people before me,” said Ernie Weiss, Aleutians East Borough community development coordinator and former mayor of King Cove. “The more I get into it, the more excited I get.”
On Feb. 17, the Aleutians East Bay Borough Assembly passed a resolution supporting the city of False Pass’ submission of an application, in partnership with AEB, for the state Department of Energy’s Emerging Energy Technology fund grant for tidal energy. Abstracts were due March 2 for the first round. If the grant is awarded, the borough would be responsible for project management and grant administration. False Pass would be the owner of the utility and be in charge of operation and maintenance. If the abstract is accepted, the next step is a formal application due at the end of April.
The resolution outlined the city’s role in the application process to include data collection at the city dock and underwater video monitoring of marine wildlife. Emerging energy projects must employ technologies that are proven, but not yet tested in Alaska and should be ready for commercial use in five years.
“We really have to stop calling it ocean energy and call it an ocean current project,” Weiss said.
The vision is to look to the future and help villages wean themselves from using petrochemicals for energy generation.
“As much as possible, we’d like to make all the communities as self-sufficient as possible,” Weiss said. “This is really an energy project for the entire region.”
Funding will also come from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Tribal Energy Program and the U.S. Department of Agriculture rural energy program. The city is also working on the application with Aleutians Pribilof Islands Association, Aleutians Pribilof Island Community Development Association, the National Renewable Energy Lab and the Ocean Renewable Power Co. Read more