Under 3 AAC 108.100 – 130 the Alaska Energy Authority’s Rural Power Systems Upgrade (RPSU) program may provide financial assistance and technical assistance including construction management and training to eligible recipients.

Approximately 160 communities are eligible to receive Rural Power System Upgrade (RPSU) grant-funded projects through the Alaska Energy Authority (AEA). AEA evaluates a number of factors in determining project prioritization. The datasets used include:

  1. The potential risk of flooding or erosion to the current powerhouse location. Data was taken from the 2012 Powerhouse Survey to assess if the powerhouse is currently located in a place that could put the infrastructure at risk of major damage.
  2. The type and specifications of the switchgear and distribution system. Data is from 2012.
  3. The potential savings from improved generation efficiency and line loss reduction. Data is from PCE data.
  4. The total points from the 2012 Powerhouse Survey. As the most recent survey of all RPSU-eligible powerhouses, the 2012 survey remains a valuable starting point.
  5. The number and cost of emergencies AEA has responded to in the past five years. Since AEA is obligated to respond to electrical emergencies (per 3 AAC 108.200), energy infrastructure deficiencies have a direct financial impact to the State.

Each of the factors was quantified and weighted to provide a numerical scoring system. The highest ranked communities are listed below.

Top 25 Communities recommended for RPSU funding (in order of priority) as of June 2019:

  1. Rampart
  2. Shungnak
  3. Nikolai
  4. Tanana
  5. Napaskiak
  6. Noorvik
  7. Nelson Lagoon
  8. Marshall
  9. Circle
  10. Eek
  11. Manley Hot Springs
  12. Nulato
  13. Shishmaref
  14. Shageluk
  15. Old Harbor
  16. Pilot Station
  17. Kiana
  18. Sand Point
  19. Scammon Bay
  20. Ekwok
  21. Goodnews Bay
  22. Ambler
  23. Russian Mission
  24. Tok
  25. Wales

Comprehensive project ranking is available here.

Project scale

It is not expected that each of the communities recommended for an RPSU project will get a new powerhouse module; indeed, it is possible that none of the communities will receive a traditional full-scale RPSU project. Instead, an assessment of the system will first 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 thousands to millions of dollars, depending on the level of technical need determined by an engineering analysis of the energy system.