News from the Alaska State Legislature, the Office of Senator Stedman
For Immediate Release: September 15, 2020

Swan Lake Hydroelectric Expansion Utilized after Record Rainfall

Stedman_stamp.jpgSenator Bert Stedman   Web Site    Send Email

KETCHIKAN – After a summer of record-setting rainfall, the Swan Lake Hydroelectric Facility reached full capacity following expansion totaling an additional 15 feet of storage for the first time. Due to drought conditions since construction was finished three years ago, this summer marked the first time water levels made it all the way up on the flashboards, forcing a reservoir spill on July 24.

“This expansion allows for increased storage of one of our area’s most important renewable energy sources: hydropower,” said Sen. Bert Stedman, R-Sitka. “This expansion ensures that we can store more hydropower and use it during the fluctuating rainy seasons. This is just a part of a larger ongoing expansion, and we are currently reviewing other hydropotentials to increase storage generation in the future.”



The Swan Lake Reservoir Expansion Project achieved its objective of increasing regional hydro storage capacity, which was identified as a priority in the Southeast Alaska Integrated Resource Plan. The expansion was a 22MW hydroelectric facility on Revillagigedo Island that expanded the capacity from 86,000 acre-feet to 111,800 acre-feet, allowing for about 25-30% more storage. 

Annually the expansion will provide up to 12,000 MWh of additional energy, which equates to 800,000 gallons of diesel fuel annually, according to the Southeast Alaska Power Agency (SEAPA). In the first year of the project an additional $1.1 million in diesel generation to Ketchikan was offset. In addition to the cost savings of displacing 800,000 gallons of diesel is the elimination of 17,904,000 pounds of CO2 being emitted into the atmosphere.

“This is a great example of maximizing the value of an existing hydroelectric asset without the need for additional transmission or powerhouse infrastructure,” said SEAPA CEO Trey Acteson.

The project was completed on an accelerated schedule and came in under the engineer’s estimate of $13.3. million. It was partially funded through a $3.9 million direct appropriation from the State of Alaska and SEAPA sold bonds for the remaining balance. Alaska’s congressional delegation supported the project, as well, which subsequently led to the passage of related Swan Lake Boundary Adjustment Act. Numerous state agencies and the U.S. Forest Service also worked collaboratively to bring the project to fruition.

“SEAPA is grateful for Senator Stedman’s support in securing partial state funding for this important project benefitting the communities of Ketchikan, Wrangell and Petersburg,” Acteson said.

The intertie between Swan Lake Hydro Facility to the Tyee Lake Hydroelectric Facility is another major benefit of this project. It allows for greater utilization of the energy generation capability of the Tyee Facility and better reliability throughout the system, as well. The Swan Lake facility is used to power Ketchikan and the Tyee Lake system sends power to Wrangell and Petersburg. Since completing the intertie, the 15-feet expansion is the first major upgrade to benefit this power station.

“Hydroelectricity and this expansion to the system increases the stability and reliability of the electrical system throughout the district,” said Stedman. “This expansion is a perfect example of how we are working to sustainably develop our great state and bring cheaper, more reliable electricity to our residents.”

SEAPA is a regional generation and transmission entity providing wholesale power to member utilities. SEAPA is authorized under Alaska state law to design, develop, acquire, purchase, own, operate, manage, maintain and improve power projects or generation and transmission facilities.

Stedman and Acteson would like to extend thanks to these other participants who were instrumental in the successful completion of this project: 

  • Eric Wolfe, SEAPA Director of Special Projects
  • Ed Schofield, SEAPA Power Systems Specialist
  • McMillen LLC
  • Randy Presleigh, Structural Engineer of McMillen LLC
  • Finlay Anderson, Sr. Licensing & Regulatory Specialist of McMillen LLC
  • Pacific Pile & Marine, General Contractor
  • Kuenz America, Inc., fixed wheel gate & flashboard
  • Hot Wire, LLC, electrical contractor (sub)
  • Bering Industrial Contractors, Inc. (sub)
  • Evergreen Concrete Cutting, Inc. (sub)
  • Local Ketchikan Shipyard
  • Steve Scheldt of PML Environmental
  • James Volk of Segrity, LLC (controls configuration/programming)
  • Pool Engineering, site support
  • Steve Seley of Seaborne Marine, marine transport
  • Kent Halvorsen of Boyer Tug, marine transport
  • Steve Negri, Tetra Tech, Sr. Wildlife Biologist
  • Tyler Rental

For more information contact: Mollie Barnes,, 907-465-1729. 

Share this on Twitter Tweet icon-facebook.png Share

News & Videos more >

Senator Peter Micciche

Sen. Micciche: Management Proposal Would Harm Salmon in Cook Inlet

SOLDOTNA – Senator Peter Micciche, R-Soldotna, sent a letter Wednesday urging the North Pacific Fishery Management Council (NPFMC) to reject a rushed proposal lacking due process...  Full Story >>

Senator Cathy Giessel

Statement from Sen. Giessel on Governor’s New Declaration

ANCHORAGE – Senate President Cathy Giessel, R-Anchorage, today released the following statement after Governor Mike Dunleavy announced that he is issuing a new 30-day Declaration of...  Full Story >>

Senator Peter Micciche

Kenai Legislators ask Governor to Declare Disaster for Fisheries

SOLDOTNA – Members of the Kenai Peninsula Legislative Delegation sent a letter to Governor Mike Dunleavy on Wednesday urging him to declare a state economic disaster for the Upper Cook...  Full Story >>

Senator Lyman Hoffman

USDA Awards Grant for Rural School Broadband

BETHEL – Today, the United States Department of Agriculture Rural Utility Service Program announced they are awarding a $25 million grant to GCI to build fiber optic broadband through...  Full Story >>

Senator Josh Revak

Legislators Celebrate Community Art

Giving freely of his time SPC Garcia, organized supplies, volunteers and worked weekends to convert a retaining wall at 10th and Hyder from graffiti into a beautiful community treasure....  Full Story >>

Senator Bert Stedman

Swan Lake Hydroelectric Expansion Utilized after Record Rainfall

After a summer of record-setting rainfall, the Swan Lake Hydroelectric Facility reached full capacity following expansion totaling an additional 15 feet of storage for the first time....  Full Story >>

Senator Peter Micciche

Friday: Senate Hearing on Board of Fish Appointees, Public Testimony

ANCHORAGE – On Friday, August 28, at 3:00 p.m. in the Anchorage Legislative Information Office (LIO), the Senate Resources Committee will hold a hearing to take public testimony on and...  Full Story >>

Senator Bert Stedman

Gravina Access Improvements Work to Begin, Final Bids Awarded

KETCHIKAN – Work will soon begin on a host of projects meant to enhance the movement of people and goods between Ketchikan and Gravina Island.  Full Story >>

Senator Cathy Giessel

Statement from Sen. President Giessel on Alaska LNG Export Approval

ANCHORAGE – Senate President Cathy Giessel, R-Anchorage, today released the following statement after the U.S. Department of Energy on Thursday authorized the Alaska LNG project to...  Full Story >>

Senator Cathy Giessel

Sen. Giessel: ANWR Decision a Positive Step for Alaska’s Future

ANCHORAGE – Senate President Cathy Giessel, R-Anchorage, today released the following statement in response to the U.S. Department of the Interior’s decision approving an oil and...  Full Story >>

Find your Senator full map