Murkowski Welcomes DOE Awards for Alaska Projects

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today welcomed the Department of Energy’s (DOE) announcement that two Alaska projects will receive a total of $3.6 million to support the development of innovative marine energy technologies.

The Igiugig Village Council (IVC), in partnership with the Ocean Renewable Power Company (ORPC) of Maine, will receive $2.3 million to continue work on a RivGen cross-flow river current turbine system. The Alaska Center for Energy and Power (ACEP) and the University of Alaska Fairbanks, in coordination with Renergé, Inc., will also receive $1.3 million for the development of  “Water Horse” hydroelectric harvester development technology.

“I am so pleased that these projects have been selected to receive funding from the Department of Energy,” Murkowski said. “The innovation happening in Alaska is real, and the people advancing technologies in our state are helping address not only the significant energy challenges facing many of our remote communities, like Igiugig, but also paving the way for microgrid solutions around the world. Once you prove these technologies can work in rural Alaska, you prove they can work just about anywhere.”

A number of officials from the Department of Energy heard more about these projects and technologies—among many other energy-related opportunities in Alaska—at the recent National Lab Day conference in Fairbanks.

Murkowski, along with Senators Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Angus King, Jr. (I-ME) also wrote to Secretary of Energy Rick Perry on May 16, 2018, urging DOE to fund the IVC and ORPC partnership as quickly as possible to ensure its completion. Since 2009, the marine hydrokinetic river power system project in Igiugig has leveraged more than $5 million in additional funding from state agencies and the private sector. The award announced today will allow for the permanent installation of a RivGen cross-flow river current turbine system in Igiugig, which will move the rural community closer to using diesel fuel for emergency-backup only.

The University of Alaska Fairbanks’ ACEP will incorporate updated modifications to an oscillating hydrokinetic harvester, called the Water Horse. The marine energy technology may significantly lower the overall cost of energy for similar systems, while reducing system failures. The Water Horse technology could eventually prove impactful for rural communities with low energy needs, and may integrate into existing microgrid systems to help communities decrease the high cost and emissions associated with reliance on diesel generation.

Murkowski is chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. More background on today’s announcement from DOE is available here.

Related Issues: Energy