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Haida Corporation - 2010 Project

Project Overview
Tribe/Awardee: Haida Corporation
Location: Hydaburg, AK
Project Title: Reynolds Creek Hydroelectric Project
Type of Application: Deployment
DOE Grant Number: DE-EE0002502
Project Amounts:
DOE: $1,120,000
Awardee: $16,025,000
Total: $17,145,000
Project Status: See project status
Project Period
of Performance:
Start: August 2010
End: October 2012


The Reynolds Creek Hydroelectric Project ("Reynolds Creek" or the "Project") is a 5 MW hydroelectric resource to be constructed on Prince of Wales Island, Alaska, approximately 10 miles east of Hydaburg. The project will interconnect with the existing transmission grid on the island and will be used by the residents and businesses of Craig, Klawock, Hollis, Hydaburg, Thorne Bay, and Kasaan. In addition, once the interconnected grid is expanded to Coffman Cove and Naukati in 2011 and 2012, respectively, those two communities will also directly benefit from Reynolds Creek.

The project will be constructed and owned by the Haida Energy, Inc., a Joint Venture between the Haida Corporation, Inc., and Alaska Power & Telephone (AP&T), Alaska Power Company (APC), a subsidiary of AP&T and the local electric utility on Prince of Wales Island will construct and operate the hydroelectric plant. Haida Energy will be a utility regulated by the Regulatory Commission of Alaska (RCA).

The project will be a conventional hydroelectric project. Hydroelectric technology is well developed and provides most of the renewable energy generated in the world in general and southeast Alaska in particular. The project will utilize the abundant rainfall and steep topography afforded by the Reynolds Creek basin to generate renewable energy. Other potential hydroelectric sites exist in the area but are much smaller than Reynolds Creek and would have significantly less energy potential.

Reynolds Creek will be fully incorporated with the other hydro resources so that the renewable resources will be dispatched as an integrated system. Reynolds Creek is also lower in altitude than the other two hydroelectric projects and should not experience icing problems during the winter months. Therefore, it is expected that the project will eliminate the need for essentially all diesel generation on the interconnected grid. When the grid is expanded to Coffman Cove and Naukati, that diesel generation will also be eliminated.

Project Description


Reynolds Creek is a high-gradient stream that originates in the mountains east of Copper Harbor and flows to the ocean through a steep narrow canyon that widens with decreasing gradient. The proposed project is the only hydropower project proposed in the southern half of the Prince of Wales Island and is intended to displace diesel-electric power generation.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) previously evaluated Reynolds Creek in 1996–1997 and awarded a grant to Haida Corporation under a previous Funding Opportunity Announcement. Payment amounts were received for the approval of the Project Management Plan by DOE and receipt of the FERC license, respectively. However, because Hydaburg was not yet integrated with the electrical grid on Prince of Wales Island and the electrical load growth in Hydaburg was minimal, Haida Corporation chose to delay construction of the project and relinquished the balance of the DOE grant in 2003. Since that time, Haida Corporation has maintained the FERC license and the other approvals that were received and continued to monitor the need for new electrical generating resources on the island.

Project Objectives

The Reynolds Creek Hydroelectric Project will be a 5 MW electrical-generating facility located approximately 10 miles east of Hydaburg. Annual energy production during an average water year is estimated to be 19.3 million kilowatt-hours, subject to usability in the area load. The principal project components are as follows:

Basic Integration Concept

The Prince of Wales Island electrical system is already hydro-based with diesel backup. Integrating another hydro project with the system will not present any difficulties. There will be no economic incentive to not dispatch Reynolds Creek, and the Project will be fully integrated into the system. Dispatch of the three hydro resources on the island will essentially be as follows:

  • Minimum flow requirements per Black Bear Lake's licensing requirements
  • South Fork (run of river with no storage)
  • Minimum purchase requirements (6 million kWh) from Reynolds Creek
  • Remaining energy from Black Bear Lake
  • Remaining energy (13.1 million kWh) from Reynolds Creek

Delivery Method

Reynolds Creek will be interconnected to the grid with a 10.9-mile, 34.5-kV transmission line that is considered part of the project and included in the project. The strategy developed to finance and construct Reynolds Creek is based on bringing the resource online as soon as possible while seeking additional grants to allow a reasonable return on investment. Pending necessary approvals, limited construction can start this summer on certain preliminary components such as transmission right-of-way clearing and marine access.

Annual energy production by the project during an average water year is estimated to be 19.3 million kilowatt-hours, subject to usability in the area load. The principal project components are as follows:

Dam/Intake—A diversion will be constructed near the outlet of Rich's Pond, a small sub-basin at the outlet of Lake Mellen. The spillway crest of the dam will be at elevation 876 feet. The diversion structure will be grouted riprap with a concrete core cutoff wall. The crest length of the structure will be approximately 28 feet, and the section will act as a weir with uncontrolled overflow when the lake is above elevation 876 feet. The backwater from the dam will inundate Rich's Pond and interconnect to the existing surface elevation of Lake Mellen. The intake structure will include a fish screen. A steel transition piece will connect the intake to the penstock. A small valve house will be located immediately downstream of the intake. The valve house will house the penstock shutoff valve and operator as well as an uninterruptible power supply to ensure fail-safe operation of level control elements and flow sensors.

A bypass pipe will pass directly through the center of the diversion structure. This bypass pipe will provide uninterrupted flow to the bypass reach downstream of the diversion. The bypass pipe will be oversized for the required flows. The inlet of the bypass pipe will be protected by a bar structure to prevent debris from entering. The outlet of the bypass pipe will be equipped with either an orifice plate or valve, which will be used to regulate discharge flows.

Penstock—An approximate 3,200-foot-long welded steel penstock will convey water from the intake to the powerhouse. The penstock will have a diameter of 42 inches corresponding to a maximum flow rate of 90 cfs. The penstock will be of above-ground construction on simple saddle supports. The penstock will have an epoxy lining and coating to provide corrosion protection. Thrust blocks will be provided at changes in alignment and grade as well as at the powerhouse. The penstock will have a leak detection system installed, which will automatically close the intake pipeline shutoff valve in the event that a leak occurs.

Powerhouse—The powerhouse will be located in plan at the approximate location of the anadromous fish barrier of Reynolds Creek. The powerhouse will sit on an excavated bench at or about elevation 110 ft, which is approximately 20 feet above the ordinary high water mark of Reynolds Creek. The actual design elevation will be determined once geotechnical investigations are completed during mid-2009 in conjunction with final design.

The powerhouse will be an insulated, preengineered metal building on a concrete slab foundation. The powerhouse will contain a single 5 MW horizontal impulse turbine/generator set, flywheel, inlet piping, guard valve, switchgear, and controls. Centerline of the turbine will be at approximately elevation 115 feet.

Tailrace—A pipe and tailrace channel will return project flows back to Reynolds Creek as near as possible to the anadromous fish barrier. The pipe and excavated tailrace channel will extend about 80 feet from the powerhouse back to Reynolds Creek. It is proposed to have the tailrace return to Reynolds Creek at the base of the falls where the creek daylights from the canyon at the approximate location of the base of the existing log jam at about elevation 90 feet. The tailrace will return flow over a perched ledge to act as a barrier to fish migration into the tailrace.

The tailrace location is approximately 50 feet downstream of the location of the anadromous barrier identified by the agencies. This location was selected because it would return the water to the creek with the least amount of construction-related impacts to the stream.

Transmission Line to Hydaburg/Switchyard—The switchyard at the powerhouse will consist of a pad-mounted disconnect switch and a pad-mounted step-up transformer. An overhead 34.5 kV transmission line will travel 12 miles along existing logging roads along the edge of Copper Harbor north along Hetta. Approximately 3.3 miles from the powerhouse, the transmission line will make an aerial crossing of Hetta Inlet via Jumbo Island. The line will then follow the existing road to a point approximately 1.4 miles northeast of the town of Hydaburg, where it will connect with an existing power line. Total length of the transmission line will be approximately 10.9 miles. Except for the aerial crossing of Hetta Inlet, the poles would be designed as tangent line structures on about 300-foot centers. Design of the line will also incorporate the latest raptor protection guidelines. Collision avoidance devices will be installed on the line at appropriate locations to protect migratory birds.

Access Roads—A limited amount of new access road will be needed to construct the project. The major landowner, Sealaska Corporation, constructed much of the road system when the area was logged. It is estimated that less than 3,000 feet of new road will be required to access both the powerhouse site and the diversion site. Access roads constructed in conjunction with the project will be of the same design as the primary logging roads.


Haida Energy, Inc. is completing the necessary steps to initiate on-site construction preparation activities. Three construction seasons will likely be needed due to poor weather conditions during the winter. Anticipated major milestones leading to commercial operation are as follows:

  • Complete Plan of Finance
  • Complete Application for Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity and file with the Regulatory Commission of Alaska
  • Complete Geotechnical Investigations
  • Complete Final Design Modifications
  • Begin Marine Access Preparation
  • Install USGS Gages
  • Order Equipment/Materials
  • Submit Remaining Plans and Drawings to FERC
  • Begin Transmission Line Construction
  • Coordinate Detailed Construction Planning Activities with APC and the Owner's Engineers
  • Initiate Remaining Major Construction Activities
  • Project Management Complete Major Construction Work
  • Begin Start-up Testing
  • Begin Commercial Operation
  • Demobilization

Project Location

The Reynolds Creek Hydroelectric Project will be a 5 MW electrical generating facility located approximately 10 miles east of Hydaburg, Alaska.

Project Status

The project was competitively selected under the Tribal Energy Program's fiscal year 2009 funding opportunity announcement, "Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Deployment in Indian Country," and started in August 2010.

The November 2009, October 2010, November 2011, and October 2012 project status reports provide more information.

For current project status or additional information, please contact the project contacts.

Project Contact

Vincent Jameson
Haida Corporation
PO Box 89
Hydaburg, AK 99922

Mike Stimac
HDR Engineering, Incorporated
500 - 108th Avenue NE, Suite 1200
Bellevue, WA 98004