Situated on the Kvichak River 250 miles southwest of Anchorage, Igiugig has a year-round population of 56 (predominantly Yup'ik, Aleut, and Athabascan peoples). The Kvichak drains from Alaska's largest fresh water lake, flows past Igiugig and continues another 65 miles to its outlet in Bristol Bay.
For Igiugig and other communities within the Kvichak watershed, the subsistence way of life is a fundamental part of their cultural and physical wellbeing. Residents harvest, distribute, and consume many fish species found in the river, though the region produces the greatest number of sockeye salmon in the world. Igiugig is one of many "islanded" communities in Alaska and worldwide with no access to a regional power grid who pay up to 15 times more than the cost of power from a utility grid because of their reliance on diesel generators.
In summer 2014, ORPC successfully installed and operated the first RivGen®
Power System in the Kvichak River at Igiugig, sending power to shore. ORPC returned to Igiugig in 2015 with an improved RivGen®
System to demonstrate its latest technology advancements and, in the process, supplied one-third of the community’s electrical load when in full operation, working with the community to usher in a new energy era, one in which clean, locally-produced, renewable electricity will meet most of their needs.
An outstanding tidal energy resource, Cook Inlet boasts the second highest tidal range in North America in a state which possesses 90% of the country's total tidal power potential. ORPC envisions developing sites throughout Cook Inlet that together, will create an expansive tidal power system delivering a nearly constant supply of clean, reliable, economic renewable power to utilities from Fairbanks to the Kenai Peninsula.
ORPC's Alaska projects have received enthusiastic support and assistance from the Alaska Energy Authority, Denali Commission the Renewable Energy Alaska Project, the Alaska Center for Energy and Power, the University of Alaska at Anchorage and at Fairbanks, and numerous local businesses and non-profits.
The success of ORPC's river and tidal power projects in Alaska will signal an exciting and important step forward in energy diversity for the state.