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Native Village of Chignik - 1995 Project

Project Overview
Tribe/Awardee: Chignik, Native Village of
Location: Chignik Lagoon, AK
Project Title: Chignik Lagoon Village Power Energy Efficiency Study
Type of Application: Feasibility
DOE Grant Number: DE-FG48-95R810590
Project Amounts:
DOE: $100,717
Awardee: $50,000
Total: $150,717
Project Status: Complete  More
Project Period
of Performance:
Start: September 1995
End: September 1996

Project Description


General Demographics

Current Population: 80
Incorporation Type: Unincorporated Borough Located In: Lake & Peninsula Borough
Taxes: Sales: None
Property: None
Raw Fish Tax (Borough): 2%

Location and Climate

Chignik Lagoon is located on the south shore of the Alaska Peninsula, 5.5 miles west of Chignik. It lies at approximately 56 degrees 20 minutes north latitude, 158 degrees 29 minutes west longitude. The area encompasses 12 square miles of land. The community experiences a maritime climate characterized by cool summers and relatively warm winters. Average summer temperatures range from 39 degrees to 60 degrees F; winter temperatures range from 21 degrees to 36 degrees F.

History, Culture, and Demographics

The majority of the population, 56.6%, is Alaska Natives. A federally recognized tribe is located in the community. Chignik Lagoon is a traditional Koniag village that experiences an influx of fishermen during the summer months. The population swells by 250 to 350 people during the fishing season.

During the April 1990 U.S. Census, there were 83 total housing units, and 66 of these were vacant. Eight jobs were estimated to be in the community. The official unemployment rate at that time was 20%. However, 84% of all adults were not in the work force. The median household income was $56,250, and 6.4% of residents were living below the poverty level.

Facilities, Utilities, Schools, and Health Care

Chignik Lagoon has an infiltration gallery from a surface source, and a central well that feeds into a storage tank. Some households have individual wells. Almost all residences have complete plumbing. Plans are underway to drill a new well because the current one has been non-functional at times, as well as construct a pump house, waterline to the storage tank, community sewer system, sewage treatment plant and ocean outfall, and landfill. An incinerator was recently purchased for refuse disposal. All homes currently have telephone service.

Electricity is currently provided by Chignik Lagoon Electric. There is one school located in the community, attended by 38 students. Local hospitals or health clinics include Chignik Lagoon Health Clinic.

Economy and Transportation

Fishing is the mainstay of the economy in Chignik Lagoon, and the area serves as a regional fishing center. The economy is dependent on the success of the salmon fleet. Twenty residents hold commercial fishing permits. Two on-shore processors operate out of Chignik. Subsistence activities contribute food sources.

Chignik Lagoon is primarily accessible by air and sea. There are no roads connecting it to other villages. There is a strong regional interest in constructing roads between Chignik, Chignik Lagoon, Chignik Lake, and the landfill. There is a state-maintained 1,700-foot airstrip. Regular and charter flights are available from King Salmon. A cargo ship brings supplies annually. There is no harbor or dock, but boat haul outs are available. ATVs and skiffs are the primary means of local transportation.

Goals and Objectives

The Native Village of Chignik Lagoon, on the tip of the Alaska Peninsula, has suffered for many years from the lack of a village electrical system. All residents rely on personal diesel generators, which burn fuel costing $1.35/gallon and which must be transported at great personal and environmental risk from the depot to the village aboard small fishing vessels. The lack of a central power system has disqualified the Village from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) housing assistance. The village received a 1994 Department of Energy (DOE) Title XXVI grant for a feasibility study of a run-of-river 200 kW hydroelectric plant located on a nearby creek. A follow-up 1995 grant is providing funds for purchase of materials for an underground distribution system to all village buildings. Initially, power will be provided from a new central diesel generating system funded by the state of Alaska; when the hydro plant is constructed, the diesel plant will function as a backup.

Photo of Chignik Lagoon.

Project Actions and Resultant Data

This project involves the design and construction of a new distribution system and the upgrade of the existing school power generation plant. The distribution system will consist of a 12,470 volt over-head and underground system. The powerhouse belongs to the school district at this time and will be used to provide power to the community. The school district and the community have signed an agreement to turn over the powerhouse the community after the first year of operation is complete. The community owns all equipment being installed in the powerhouse.

Scope of Work

  1. Project will be designed in accordance with applicable standards. All design will conform to Rural Utility Standards, National Electric Code, and National Electrical Safety Code.

  2. Prepare and submit project schedule and work plan.

  3. Prepare and submit project design.

  4. Construction will be in accordance with good construction practices.

  5. Inspection by DOE.

Project Management Plan

Grant funds from DOE, RDA, Borough, and FED's will be used to construct a new electrical distribution system and install new generator equipment in the school's powerhouse. The borough will contribute $150,000 towards this project. DOE will provide all management, design, procurement, and construction of the new systems. DOE will inspect the project upon completion.

Results, Conclusions, Findings, and Recommendations

Project Status

All materials for the distribution system and the powerhouse have been purchased and shipped to the community. Installation of the distribution system is complete. Powerhouse equipment installation was completed in March 1997. The new system is fully operational.

Project Schedule/Milestones

Construction begins: May 1996
Completion expected:April 1997

Project Closeout

Final inspection and closeout of the project in June 1997.

Project Status

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

Project Contact

Native Village of Chignik
PO Box 57
Chignik Lagoon, AK 99565
Telephone: (907) 840-2281