Renewable Energy at Rainbow King

Because of our renewable energy source, you will not hear this at Rainbow King Lodge “Power is supplied by diesel generators, running from 5 AM to Midnight, no flushing toilets or hot water when generators are off.

Renewable Hydro Electric PowerBeing part of the INN Electric all our electricity is generated by a hydroelectric plant just 12 miles from the lodge. Electric power has been generated by INNEC since 1983 using diesel generators located in the community of Newhalen. Fuel for these generators was transported up the Kvichak River and across Iliamna Lake. It should be noted that the Kvichak River is one the of the most important Sockeye Salmon rivers in all of Southwest Alaska. The cost, difficult logistics and potential spill hazard of this fuel were a primary consideration for development of hydroelectric power in this area. Without the hydro plant, the communities collectively would use about 180,000 gallons of diesel fuel a year for electricity.  A hydroelectric project was constructed for these communities, starting in the spring of 1996 and ending in the spring of 1998. The project site is located on the south bank of the Tazimina River. The Tazimina River flows west from the Aleutian Range. The hydroelectric site is at the Tazimina River Falls about 9 miles upstream from the confluence of the Tazimina and Newhalen Rivers.

The hydro plant is run-of-the-river (no dam for water storage) and uses approximately 100 feet of the natural head provided by the falls. The hydro plant features include water diversion sill blocks, intake structure, penstock underground powerhouse, tailrace, surface control building, buried transmission line and communication cable and access road.
The water intake is located approximately 250 feet upstream of the falls. The water diversion sill blocks are located immediately adjacent to the intake. From the intake, water flow to the turbines is directed through a 60-inch diameter penstock. The penstock runs 300 feet to the control building then straight down for 120 feet into the underground powerhouse through a bifurcation and into two 412 kilowatt Gilkes turbines. Water is discharged back into the Tazimina River at the base of the falls through an 8-foot high horseshoe-shaped tailrace tunnel. Access to the cavern is provided by an elevator or ladder.  The cavern contains two turbines, generators, and auxiliary equipment.  The intake, penstock, powerhouse cavern and tailrace are designed and configured to accommodate doubling the capacity to 1.5 megawatts in the future.

We are very proud to be able to use this power source to run Rainbow King and provide our guests with electric power 24/7. Our guests enjoy hot water, flushing toilets and many other comforts provided by electricity 24 hours a day. We do not have to turn everything off at midnight like many other lodges using diesel-powered generators do.



Hydro electric power in rural Alaska from Alaska Dispatch on Vimeo.