Current Activity in Alaska (Geothermal)
Chena Hot Springs geothemral143Chena.jpg Northeast of Fairbanks, Chena is home to the only operating geothermal power plant in Alaska.
Pilgrim Hot Springs geothemral143Pilgrim.jpg Pilgrim was the site of another Department of Energy drilling program. The resource appears to have development potential using binary power generation equipment, but the source of the geothermal fluid was never identified. Pilgrim is located approximately 50 miles from Nome, and a recent study suggests that if proven adequate, it may be economical to develop the resource to supply power to Nome.
Unalaska geothemral143Unalaska.jpg The Makushin geothermal resource near the community of Dutch Harbor on Unalaska (Aleutians) is the only proven high temperature geothermal system in Alaska that could be used for power generation. An exploratory drilling program, which took place in the early 1980s and was funded by the Department of Energy, made this determination.
Akutan geothemral143Akutan.jpg The community of Akutan (Aleutians) is considering options for developing a nearby resource located in Hot Springs Bay, approximately 10 miles from the community.
Naknek geothemral144Naknek.jpg The Alaska Peninsula community of Naknek is conducting a geothermal exploration program.
Manley Hot Springs geothemral144Manley.jpg Manley, on the Tanana River, is a resource similar to the one at Chena. It has the potential to supply 100% of the power and possibly the heat to the community; however, the project is complicated by land ownership issues.
Mt. Spurr geothemral144Mt.Spurr.jpg The Mt. Spurr volcano, across Cook Inlet from Anchorage, is a unproven resource, but its proximity to Anchorage, makes it worth further assessment. Ormat, a geothermal developer and power plant manufacturer, recently won a competitive bid process and purchased all but one lease section on the volcano.
Other regional assessments have been proposed, as well as development of other resources. However, no additional activity has taken place at other sites in the past 10 years.

Alaskan Geothermal Resource Potential

Known Geothermal Areas

Alaska has a number of documented shallow sources of heat along its southern margin and in the central part of the state. For physical and economic reasons many of these resources are under-explored and undeveloped. These known geothermal areas range from modest temperature thermal springs like Pilgrim, Chena, and Manley to large areas of hot springs found on or near active volcanoes. The locations of all major thermal springs in Alaska have been identified, but some lack basic descriptive information such as flow rate and geochemistry. These springs represent a thermal and mass discharge point from a geothermal system that may support development.

Blind Geothermal Systems

Blind geothermal systems are those without surface manifestations. These systems are the subject of much debate within the geothermal community. Whether blind systems exist in Alaska is unknown at this time. Precious little subsurface temperature data exist to indicate the presence of such systems. Nevertheless, a significant amount of additional geologic information is available to help determine if an area is likely to contain such anomalous features. In the absence of detailed thermal gradient information is impossible to say categorically that small geothermal anomalies do not exist, but substantial supportive geologic information can help in the evaluation of potential areas for exploration.

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