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Project Profile: The Huslia Tribal Council Biomass Project, Huslia, Alaska

Ariel view of solar farm.

The Huslia Tribal Council, Alaska located on the north bank of the Koyukuk River, about 170 river miles northwest of Galena and 290 air miles west of Fairbanks. Most residents are Koyukon Athabascan

Source: Credit to Interior Regional Housing Authority

Project Name

Huslia Tribal Council Biomass Project


Huslia, Alaska

Project Sponsor / Borrower

Huslia Tribal Council (HTC)

Program Areas

Project FinanceValue Capture

Value Capture Techniques

Private Contribution


Other: Energy


The Huslia Tribal Council is the Federally recognized tribal government for the Huslia Athabascan indigenous peoples in the interior region of Alaska. On the north bank of the Koyukuk River and within the Koyukuk National Wildlife Refuge, a community-scale biomass project was approved as part of a 2008 reconnaissance study supported by the Alaska Wood Energy Development Task Group and conceptual design and feasibility work in 2013 funded by the State of Alaska’s Renewable Energy Fund.

The project is expected to heat 60 percent of the community's buildings, create up to 12 part-time jobs, and save $57,000 annually in heating costs. The project scope consists of the final design, construction, and operation of a wood-fired district heating system that serves the community clinic, washeteria, and the K-12 school.

The biomass system includes:

  • Three GARN 2000 Wood Heating System cordwood boilers with a total maximum output of 600,000 British thermal units (BTU)/hour.
  • About 700 feet of direct-bury insulated hydronic distribution pipe.
  • A fenced wood yard and covered fuelwood storage.
  • Modifications to end-user building heating systems for tie-in of the new district heating system to the existing oil-fired hydronic systems.
  • A mechanical system including heat exchangers, pumps, metering, and controls.
  • An electrical system.

Co-funded by a $361,731 U.S. Department of Energy Office of Indian Energy grant awarded in 2017, the biomass system supports the community’s goal to displace 25 percent of diesel used for heating with renewable energy by 2025. It also advances the Tribal Council’s strategic vision to ensure the community’s survival and preserve its traditional way of life. The $723,464 energy infrastructure investment will save the community an estimated $1.5 million in energy costs by 2045. The Huslia Tribal Council will own the facility and manage the long-term operations and maintenance.


$723,464 (Federal Funds: $361,731)

Funding Sources
  • U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Indian Energy Grant
  • In-kind and cash contributions
    • Community member from Yukon-Koyukuk school board
    • Tanana Chiefs Conference (TCC)
    • Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortia (ANTHC)
Project Delivery / Contract Method

Design-build, the Huslia Tribal Council will operate the system

Private Partner
  • Community member from Yukon-Koyukuk school board
  • Tanana Chiefs Conference (TCC)
  • Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium
  • HTC
Project Advisors / Consultants
  • ANTHC - Led the design of the project
  • TCC - Served as the Technical Point of Contact and oversaw conceptual design, contractor selection and construction
  • HTC - Applied for and received the DOE Award and the tribe manages 100 percent of the bookkeeping and invoicing for the project
  • Yukon Koyukuk School District (YKSD)

The cost shares from the Office of Indian Energy

Duration / Status

The planning for the project began in 2012, construction commenced in 2014, and it was completed in June 2016. The project became operational in 2017.

Financial Status / Financial Performance

The Huslia Tribal Council matched a $361,143 U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Indian Energy Grant award with in-kind and cash contributions from a member of the Yukon-Koyukuk school board, TCC, and ANTHC.

  • Leverage 50% of project costs in the form of in-kind and cash contributions
  • Enhance and strengthen Indian tribal energy and economic infrastructure relating to natural resource development and electrification
  • The first tribally owned biomass project in the Interior that is selling heat to the school
  • Cost Reduction. Potential to displace approximately 75 percent of the fuel oil used to heat the facilities (approximately 23,000 gallons/year) with local, sustainably harvested woody biomass. Fuel cost savings over the 25-year life of the project are estimated at approximately $2.5 million.
  • Carbon Reduction. Potential to reduce greenhouse gas by approximately 4,737 tons of carbon dioxide over the life of the project.
  • Community Resiliency. Enhances self-sufficiency and technical capabilities of Huslia residents by reducing money exported from the community for fuel oil and providing training for system operators and fuel harvesters.
  • Economic Development. Potential to create about six to eight part-time jobs for wood harvesters, about two part-time jobs for boiler operators, and about two part-time jobs at the school.
  • Stakeholders Partnership Huslia Tribal Council (HTC), City of Huslia, Yukon Koyukuk School District (YKSD), Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortia (ANTHC), and Tanana Chiefs Conference (TCC)
Related Links / Articles

Dave Messier
Tanana Chiefs Conference, Rural Energy Coordinator

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