Geothermal Resource Assessment Projects
Updated Alaska Heat Flow Map, Nome (Pilgrim Hot Springs), Chena Hot Springs, Granite Mountain, Tenakee Springs
Project Lead: Gwen Holdmann, Anupma Prakash
The Alaska Center for Energy and Power (ACEP) is working with several utilities, land owners, and communities to quantify resources and assess options for geothermal development in several areas of the state. Geothermal energy is an ideal renewable resource where it is available. It can provide consistent, uninterruptable power (99% availability is typical), is based on commercially available technology, and can be used for space heating as well as electric power generation. Unfortunately, many resources are not located near population systems, and transmission can be cost-prohibitive.
Pilgrim Hot Springs
The Alaska Center for Energy and Power (ACEP) is currently working with landowners and the community of Nome to determine if the geothermal resource at Pilgrim Hot Springs could produce enough power to economically develop Alaska's next geothermal power plant for the region. Partners include land owner Unataaq (a partnership between seven local native corporations and non-profit organizations), the City of Nome, and UAF’s Geophysical Institute. More information on the Pilgrim Hot Springs project page.
Alaska Heat Flow Map
Recently, ACEP assisted on a project to refine the heat flow map of the State of Alaska, in partnership with the Department of Natural Resources and Southern Methodist Universities’ Geothermal Laboratory. This is the first step in identifying possible blind geothermal systems, and determining whether Alaska could develop any enhanced, or man-made geothermal projects in areas of elevated heat flow. Existing data is sparse, and ACEP is collaborating to identify deeper holes throughout the state to obtain temperature measurements and improve the resolution of the geothermal gradient map. Final Report and revised map: Updated Heat Flow of Alaska New Insights into the Thermal Regime.
Chena Hot Springs
Alaska has numerous world-class geothermal resources, however Chena Hot Springs is currently home to the only operating geothermal power plant in the state.
Granite Mountain and Tenakee Springs
ACEP worked with local communities and land owners to conduct preliminary assessments of the resources at Manley Hot Springs in interior Alaska, Granite Mountain near Buckland, and Tenakee Springs in the Southeast Basic measurements were taken and geology explored to acquire a general idea of their development potential and to determine if detailed analysis was warranted for potential development of the sites.
Ground and Water Source Heat Pumps
While not traditionally categorized as geothermal power, using the earth’s surface heat for space heating applications through ground and water-source heat pumps is of great interest to Alaskans and several have been installed around the state. ACEP, in conjunction with Cold Climate Housing Research Center conducted a preliminary assessment of current installations in the state as well as the economic viability of these systems based on several community-specific factos. ACEP also conducted an assessment of the Seward SeaLife Center’s seawater heat pump system for the Denali Commission’s Emerging Energy Technology Grant Fund.