The Denali Commission

The Denali Commission

Organization Snapshot: The Denali Commission
Mission Provide critical utilities, infrastructure, and economic support throughout Alaska.
Role in Energy Development The Commission has made great strides developing safe and reliable energy infrastructure in Alaska.1
Tier Independent Federal
Organization site link The Denali Commission

History of the Commission


The Denali Commission was introduced by Congress in 1998 through the Denali Commission Act of 1998, as an independent federal agency. With the creation of the Denali Commission, Congress acknowledged the need for increased inter-agency cooperation and focus on Alaska's remote communities. Since its first meeting in April 1999, the Commission is credited with providing numerous cost-shared infrastructure projects across the State that exemplify effective and efficient partnership between federal and state agencies, and the private sector.

Recognizing the critical role energy plays in the quality of life and economic development of Alaska’s communities, the Denali Commission has made energy its primary infrastructure theme since 1999. The Commission has made great strides developing safe and reliable energy infrastructure in Alaska.

Denali Commission programs:

Community Planning Health Facilities
Conference Sponsorship Solid Waste
Economic Development Teacher Housing
Energy Training
Government Coordination Transportation

The Energy Program

The Energy Program primarily funds design and construction of replacement bulk fuel storage facilities, upgrades to community power generation and distribution systems, power line interties, alternative-renewable and emerging energy technology projects, and some energy cost reduction projects. The Commission works with the Alaska Energy Authority (AEA), Alaska Village Electric Cooperative (AVEC) and other organizations to meet rural communities’ fuel storage and power generation needs.

Types of Projects Funded:
Bulk-Fuel Storage
Community Power Generation
Rural Power Systems Upgrades and Distribution
Energy Cost Reduction Projects
Renewable, Alternative, and Emerging Energy
Power Line Interties

Since 1999, two of the main focuses of the Energy Program have been on Bulk Fuel Storage and Rural Power Systems Upgrades:

Bulk Fuel


Used by most rural Alaskan communities, these tanks are used to store all the fuel needed for winter. The fuel is used for heating, power generation, transportation, and other uses; fuel is a critical part of life. Most of these communities are very difficult to get to during the winter due to extreme weather conditions and therefore they must store their fuel for the winter in these large fuel tanks. The reason the Denali Commission has stepped in to help these communities id because in the 1990s some of the tanks were rusting, decades old and ultimately in terrible condition that the communities were at risk of not being able to receive fuel. Since 1999 the energy program has focused on helping these communities get new tanks that meet their fuel needs.

Bulk Fuel Tanks Before and After
Akutan, Alaska

Rural Power System Upgrades (RPSU)


Most Alaskan rural communities use small local power plants to generate electricity for their basic needs such as heat, power, lighting, etc. These powerhouses use diesel to generate power, the use of diesel creates problems for these small communities because the diesel they are using can cost up to five times more than in the urban parts of the state. The Denali Commission funds Power System Upgrades which can include efficiency upgrades, powerhouse upgrades and even completely new powerhouses. These upgrades allow rural communities to be able to better afford electricity to power their basic necessities.

Power Plant Before and After
Gambell, Alaska

Current Projects

For information on projects visit the public project database.

Interactive Project Map

Program Updates

Monthly Program Updates


The Denali Commission Website

Photo credit:

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