Assessing the impacts of hydrokinetic turbines on fishes in Alaska

Project Description

Feasibility and development projects for hydrokinetic devices, which utilize kinetic energy from water to turn a turbine to generate electricity, are being conducted for some rural communities in Alaska to reduce some of the energy demand on diesel generators. Impacts of hydrokinetic turbines on fishes are poorly understood, especially in large, turbid systems like the Yukon and Tanana rivers, both of which are glacially influenced. To assess the impacts of hydrokinetic turbines on fishes, we are conducting research in two phases. The first phase, which is largely completed, is to provide baseline information about the juvenile fish downstream migration in the mainstem of the Yukon and Tanana rivers to understand spatial and temporal patterns so times of potential interactions between juvenile fishes and a hydrokinetic turbine can be determined. The second phase, which is in progress, is to determine if juvenile fishes in the middle of the river channel, which primarily will be salmon smolts, avoid or pass through the spinning turbine. If salmon smolts do pass through the spinning turbine, we hope to examine whether they suffer from physical blade-strike injuries and/or barotrauma.

Research Team

Principal Investigator

picture of Andrew "Andy" Seitz

Andrew "Andy" Seitz

Associate Professor
  • Fish behavior
  • fish migration
  • behavioral ecology
  • electronic tagging
(907) 474-5254
Full Profile

Project Funding

Alaska Center for Energy and Power, Alaska Energy Authority, Alaska Power and Telephone, Denali Commission, Ocean Renewable Power Company
Amount: $400,000
Start Date: 2010-05-00 End Date: 0000-00-00

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