Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve now has access to hydropower from the Falls Creek project in Gustavus, Alaska, following completion of the Gustavus intertie, Alaska Power & Telephone Company (AP&T) has announced.
The Gustavus intertie is a federally-funded project linking the National Park Service’s facilities in Glacier Bay to the Falls Creek hydropower project, saving the use of off-grid diesel generators which had associated high costs.
The Falls Creek project is a “low impact,” run-of-the-river hydropower facility built in 2009. It was originally designed to meet the needs of the community of Gustavus, as well as replace diesel generation at off-grid National Park Service facilities. Because the community of Gustavus is an islanded “micro-grid,” additional energy purchases by the Park Service will be a tremendous help in spreading utility fixed costs over a greater of sales base, significantly reducing energy costs for consumers.
As a result of the project, Gustavus customers can expect to see significant cost-savings on their bills, which will reflect the NPS’s level of energy purchases.
In addition to providing economic relief to energy consumers of Gustavus – a remote community with very high cost of living – the project has tremendously positive environmental impacts. Based on pre-COVID energy consumption levels in the park, the intertie project is conservatively estimated to avoid 38,000 gallons of fuel per year, and by extension 600 tons of carbon dioxide, plus other emissions.