Bulk Fuel Upgrade Status Document

Bulk Fuel Upgrade Prioritization List
Prepared by the Alaska Energy Authority
February 2024

Guiding Principals

  • Transparency
  • Benefit as many communities as possible with limited state/federal resources
  • Leverage currently available funding sources
  • Support safe and reliable access to fuel
  • Support fuel storage insufficient capacity to meet the needs of the community 
  • Promote projects that are cost-effective, increase safety, and reduce environmental risk
  • Maximize the useful life of existing infrastructure
  • Provide direct and indirect incentives for maintaining utility infrastructure

AEA evaluates a number of factors in prioritizing projects for Bulk fuel Upgrade (BFU) program funding. Data was taken from the 2023-24 Bulk Fuel Inventory & Assessment to assess the overall health of the facility. The metrics/datasets used for prioritization include: 

  1. The potential risk of flooding or erosion at the current bulk fuel facility location. If the facility is located in a place that could put the infrastructure at risk of major damage, or if a spill would threaten the surrounding environment. 
  2. Is the facility location suitable for a bulk fuel facility, or is it too close to other structures, water, potential flooding, and/or or has the facility outgrown the footprint? 
  3. Is the facility compliant with Coast Guard, EPA, and State of Alaska regulations? Does the facility have adequate spill containment equipment? Are the operators fully trained? 
  4. Equipment health. This includes fuel tanks, appurtenances, piping, electrical systems, lighting, fencing, etc. Can the community safely and accurately dispense fuel?
  5. Life, Health and Safety. Is the fuel stored safely, is there evidence of chronic spills or leaks, can the operators safely operate the facility, tripping hazards, fire hazards, etc.
  6. Evaluate the condition of the barge and/or airport headers and associated piping. Is the barge header threatened by flooding or erosion? 
  7. Evaluate the condition of the facility foundation, are the tanks leaning, is there evidence of frost jacking or permafrost thawing, have the tanks and/or piping moved, is there evidence of erosion or corrosion that may compromise the foundation? 
  8. Condition of secondary containment. Is it adequate, does it contain water, vegetation, or an oil sheen, and is the containment capable of containing a fuel spill?
  9. Meet with facility operators and managers to gather historical information. 
  10. Facility size. Does the facility meet the communtiy need, larger facilities prioritized over smaller. 

Each of the factors is quantified and weighted to provide a numerical scoring system. The communities that ranked in the top 24 are provided at the end of this document.  AEA may revise the priority list per 3 AAC 108.100 -3 AAC 108.130 based on: 

    1)    requirements of federal or state agencies or other entities providing money; 
    2)    the authority’s determination of a recipient’s readiness to proceed with the project; 
    3)    the recipient’s ability to meet conditions for assistance under 3 AAC 108.120; or 
    4)    cost-effectiveness factors.
Project Data
AEA is completing the comprehensive bulk fuel facility assessments together with 3D Matterport images of the assessed facilities, with the support of Denali Commission. Going forward, we have improved the data collection procedures for our Bulk Fuel Itinerate (BFI) Training program to allow for better ongoing data collection. In the future data will be collected through the BFI Training program in order to maintain accurate data and ensure we have the latest information for prioritization of potential projects. 

AEA is building the data management tools to make all of the inventory, assessments, and imagery available to communities, agencies, and their contractors. While that system is being developed, reach out directly to AEA for access to facility data. 

Project Scale
It is not expected the each of the recommended communities will get a new facility; it is also possible that none of the communities will receive a traditional full-scale BFU project. Instead an on-site assessment of the system will be performed to determine what types of upgrades are needed to cost-effectively provide the level of service needed. Projects could range in size from ten of thousands to millions of dollars, depending on the level of need as determined by an engineering assessment of the facility and community needs. 

The assessments are by facility, however the prioritized list is by community. Before AEA will proceed with any BFU Project, AEA will complete a Concept Design Report to comprehensively assess the fuel needs of the community. This may result in multiple projects, a single large project, or one small project. 

Project Conditions
Communities receiving assistance through the BFU program will have appropriate and situation specific requirements written into grant agreements in order for AEA to maximize the public benefit from its assistance. Consistent with 3 AAC 108.110 (6), AEA has ability to require recipients to “comply with other terms and conditions…to maximize the public benefit.” 

BFU Prioritized Evaluation List
More than 180 communities are eligible for the BFU program and over the years AEA has participated in upgrading the majority of them. Even though many communities will require assistance in the future, the list of communities presented below is limited to 24 because AEA only has the financial and technical capacity to manage a few new projects each year and AEA wants to be able to make the best funding decisions based on the most up-to-date information. Additionally, BFU project typically require multiple years to complete. 
Communities included on the evaluation list but not yet in consideration for a BFU Project will be considered for possible Maintenance & Improvement (M&I) Projects, and this list will be updated as conditions change. Please reach out directly to AEA for more information on the M&I Program.  

  1. Shageluk
  2. Newtok
  3. Eek
  4. Kivalina
  5. Kobuk
  6. Chefornak
  7. Metlakatla
  8. Whale Pass
  9. Noatak
  10. Wales
  11. Allakaket
  12. Kasaan
  13. Coffman Cove
  14. Naukati Bay
  15. Nulato
  16. Huslia
  17. Ambler
  18. Manokotak
  19. Goodnews Bay
  20. Shungnak
  21. Kwigillingok
  22. Tuluksak
  23. Teller
  24. Galena

* Note that this list represents the results of aproximately 60% of eligible communities. The remaining will be assessed during the 2024 season, and will result in an updated list. 

** Prior to 2023, AEA operated the BFU Program off assessments completed from 2015-18. As such, there may be other communities in the BFU Program who do not appear on this list.