Hydrokinetic Research - Why is it important?
Recent studies estimate that Alaska has about 40% of the total U.S. river energy resource potential and about 90% of the total U.S. tidal energy resources. Many of Alaska’s rural inland communities affected by high energy costs are situated along navigable rivers that could host hydrokinetic installations. Alaska’s Railbelt power grid extends from Homer to Fairbanks and runs along Cook Inlet, which hosts one of the best potentially developable tidal resources in the world. This has led many Alaskan communities to consider whether they can access these resources to generate electric power which has in turn driven state interest in the potential of this technology.
The Alaska Hydrokinetic Research Center (AHERC) focuses on applied research and engineering specifically related to extracting power from the kinetic energy of moving water in rivers and tidal basins.
AHERC conducts environmental and technical studies that benefit a broad cross-section of developers. Such topics include fish and marine mammal baseline studies of interest to permitting agencies, approaches to anchoring and debris mitigation, the prevalence of turbulence and its effects, and other problems common to the Alaskan hydrokinetic power generation efforts.
AHERC is housed within the Alaska Center for Energy and Power (ACEP) at the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF). AHERC and ACEP are based in the Institute of Northern Engineering (INE), the research and development arm of the College of Engineering and Mines (CEM) at UAF.
Mission and Vision
The Mission of the Alaska Hydrokinetic Research Center is to conduct applied research and work with other stakeholders to foster development of practical and innovative solutions to hydrokinetic power generation to help meet Alaska’s energy challenges.
Our Vision is to develop a self‐sustaining AHERC with capabilities to conduct applied research needed to facilitate the development and implementation of hydrokinetic power generation worldwide.
For more specific information on the organization, goals, and values of AHERC, please download AHERC's strategic plan.