USDA Helps Remote Alaska Communities Offset High Energy Costs

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Rural Utilities Service Administrator Chad Rupe today announced that USDA is providing financial assistance to six organizations in Alaska to help them offset high energy costs in some of the most remote parts of the state.

   “Many rural Alaska communities have some of the highest fuel and energy costs in the nation,” Rupe said. “This funding will help ensure that residents and businesses in remote areas have affordable electricity and heat.”

   USDA is providing the assistance through the High Energy Cost Grant program. The funds are provided to energy companies, cities, tribes and entities serving rural communities where annual home energy costs exceed 275 percent of the national average.

   The Denali Commission is being awarded a $3 million grant to help construct a 300 to 400- kilowatt hydroelectric generating facility at Five Mile Creek in Chitina, population 126. The new facility will displace 90 percent of the annual diesel fuel consumption by the local utility. The Alaska Energy Authority will provide $3.4 million for this project. The Chitina Native Corporation will provide land access.

   MTNT Energy LLC is receiving $2.9 million to replace and relocate the diesel power plant and to upgrade distribution equipment in McGrath, population 345.

   TDX Adak Generating LLC is receiving $3 million to buy and install a diesel gen-set, an emission control system, fuel distribution and storage tanks, and hot water heat exchangers for a heat recovery system at the city hall in Adak, population 361, in the Aleutian Islands.  

   The INN Electric Cooperative, Inc. is receiving just under $1 million to install a standby emergency generator, make lighting upgrades, and install hydro energy recovery electric heaters at the Iliamna airport. It serves Nondalton, population 164, and the surrounding area.

   The Tanalian Electric Cooperative, Inc. is receiving a $755,000 grant to install a generator and a heat recovery system at the school, and electrical distribution systems in Port Alsworth, population 159.

   The city of Teller, population 256, is receiving a $958,000 grant to install a heat recovery jacket on a diesel-fired power generator. Recovered heat will be delivered to the water treatment plant, the washeteria, the city administration building and the clinic.

   For application and program eligibility information, contact USDA Electric Program staff at (202) 720-9540.

   USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov.

   In April 2017, President Donald J. Trump established the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity to identify legislative, regulatory and policy changes that could promote agriculture and prosperity in rural communities. In January 2018, Secretary Perdue presented the Task Force’s findings to President Trump. These findings included 31 recommendations to align the federal government with state, local and tribal governments to take advantage of opportunities that exist in rural America. Increasing investments in rural infrastructure is a key recommendation of the task force.

   To learn more, please view the Report to the President of the United States from the Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity (PDF, 5.4 MB). In addition, to view the categories of the recommendations, please view the Rural Prosperity infographic (PDF, 190 KB).