BACKGROUND

PROJECT DESCRIPTION

The 40-megawatt (MW) Eklutna Hydroelectric Project (Project) is located in Southcentral Alaska approximately 30 miles northeast of downtown Anchorage near the Native Village of Eklutna. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (USBR) constructed the project in 1955, which included rehabilitation of an existing dam at the outlet of Eklutna Lake.

The rehabilitated dam was damaged in the 1964 earthquake, at which point a new and taller embankment dam was constructed just downstream. The new dam is an earth and rockfill structure 815 feet long and 41 feet high with a rectangular concrete spillway that runs through the dam. Eklutna Lake, approximately 7 miles long and 1 mile wide, is located within Chugach State Park and provides almost 90 percent of the domestic water supply for the Municipality of Anchorage. The intake structure for the Project is located 36 feet below the natural lake level. From there, water is diverted north into a 4.6-mile-long tunnel through Goat Mountain and then into a 1,370-foot-long penstock before reaching the powerhouse located on Old Glenn Highway. The tailrace flows under the highway and then discharges into the Knik River. The powerhouse contains two generating units.

In 2018 the project produced 177,438 megawatt hours (MWh) of clean energy. This is enough energy to power more than 24,600 residential homes for an entire year. Eklutna hydroelectric power is the lowest cost renewable energy in Southcentral Alaska.

 

PROJECT OWNERSHIP

In 1967, the Alaska Power Administration (APA) was established and all responsibility for the operation and maintenance of the Eklutna Hydroelectric Project was transferred from USBR to the APA. In 1989, the APA entered into the Eklutna Purchase Agreement with the Municipality of Anchorage dba Municipal Light and Power (ML&P), Chugach Electric Association, Inc. (Chugach), and the Matanuska Electric Association (MEA). This agreement outlined the terms and conditions for the sale of the Eklutna Project to the utilities. Transfer of ownership became effective on October 2, 1997 (Transaction Date). ML&P’s share of the project is 53.33%, Chugach’s share is 30%, and MEA’s share is 16.67%.

            

Fish & Wildlife Agreement

As part of the sale of the Eklutna Hydroelectric Project, the three utilities entered into a Fish & Wildlife Agreement in 1991 with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), and the State of Alaska (the State). The 1991 Agreement requires the utilities to examine, and quantify if possible, the impacts to fish and wildlife from the Eklutna Hydroelectric Project, examine proposals for the protection, mitigation and enhancement of fish and wildlife affected by the hydroelectric development, consider the impacts of any protection, mitigation, or enhancement (PME) measures on other environmental resources and beneficial public uses as well as available means to mitigate those impacts, and then to develop and propose a Fish & Wildlife Program to the Governor. The Governor will review the proposal and issue a final Fish and Wildlife Program giving equal consideration to:

  • the purposes of efficient and economical power production
  • energy conservation
  • the protection, mitigation of damage to, and enhancement of fish and wildlife
  • the protection of recreation opportunities,
  • municipal water supplies
  • the preservation of other aspects of environmental quality
  • other beneficial public uses
  • requirements of State law

Throughout this process, the owners are required to consult with the USFWS, the NMFS, State resource agencies including the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G), the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (ADEC) and the Alaska Department of Natural Resources (ADNR), and any other interested parties. The USFWS, NMFS, and the State agreed that this process obviates the need for the owners to obtain a license for the project from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

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Thank you for your interest in the development of the Eklutna Fish & Wildlife Program.

If you have any questions regarding the project or program development, please complete the provided form, and a member of our team will get back to you.