Unalaska makes move toward geothermal power

An Alaska Native village corporation and Chena Power have signed a 30-year power purchase agreement with the city of Unalaska for 30MW of geothermal produced electrical energy.

The deal signed on Monday, Aug. 31 will satisfy a key step enabling the Makushin Geothermal Project to proceed to financing and continue to a scheduled commercial operation date in the final quarter of 2023, according to officials involved in the agreement.

The Ounalashka Corp., which signed onto the plan with Chena Power, is the Native village corporation for Aleuts in Unalaska and the Amaknak Islands in the Aleutians. The Ounalashka Corp. is affiliated with the Aleut Corp., an Alaska Native regional corporation.

In 1981 exploration drilling confirmed a world class geothermal resource on the eastern slopes of Makushin Volcano, some 13 miles from the city of Unalaska.

After the discovery well, prospects appeared good for a geothermal power plan for the city to displace fossil fuels. After five unsuccessful attempts to advance the project, a team effort of Alaskans with a common vision and proven local, national and international business and technical leadership was able to make it happen, said Chris Salts, CEO of the Ounalashka Corp.

Project leaders said the capacity of the facility will accommodate all of Unalaska’s current and known potential customer base. The benefits of geothermal energy offer greatly reduced greenhouse gas emissions, provide the region and its customers energy security and accelerate the diversity of its economic base, they said.


Chena Power, a privately held limited liability corporation in Fairbanks, installed the first geothermal power plant in the state and serves as a demonstration of the Organic Rankine Cycle technology for rural Alaska. The company is an electrical utility ad owner/operator of Chena Hot Springs geothermal power plant.

Further information and updates are at alaskageothermal.info.