LIHI Certificate #26 - Goat Lake Project, Alaska

The powerhouse contains one horizontal shaft Pelton turbine and associated synchronous generator for a total installed capacity of 4.0 MW. The tailrace transports the turbine discharge approximately 70 feet to the Skagway River. A small substation is located adjacent to the powerhouse. A pole mounted 34.5 kV transmission line begins at the substation and parallels the Skagway River, following the west side for approximately 4,538 feet to a point across from Clifton and ascends to the distribution line from Skagway serving the U.S. Custom’s Border Station on the Klondike Highway.

The Goat Lake Hydroelectric Project is located northeast of Skagway, Alaska. The lake is situated in a perched cirque valley and the lake lies southeast of the Skagway River. The lake is fed by a glacier at its south end. The glacier terminates near the south end of the lake in a coarse rubble moraine, consisting principally of large angular granitic blocks. The lake outlet, located about 300 feet north of the end of the moraine, flows through a bedrock notch and contributes the major portion of the water flow in Pitchfork Falls Creek. After the falls this same water then joins the Skagway River. The lake is used as a natural reservoir without any dam. The project was licensed for operation in 1996 and was developed in 1997 and it occupies land in the Tongass National Forest.

The project includes the lake which continues to have an uncontrolled spillway using the original outlet. A siphon intake extends into the lake a horizontal distance of 369 feet to obtain 185 feet of submergence. The intake, consisting of a v-shaped wedgewire screen assembly, is connected to the siphon pump by a 30-inch-diameter high density polyethylene chloride (HDPE) penstock which changes to a 28-inch-diameter steel penstock approximately 82 feet before the siphon house. The siphon pump connects with a valve house via a 704-foot-long, 30-inch-diameter HDPE penstock. A catch-basin catches runoff from the glacier moraine that bypasses the lake. The catch-basin is connected to a pumpback house via an 18-inch-diameter HDPE penstock. The pumpback house draws water from the catch-basin and pumps the water back to the lake via a 16-inch-diameter, 640-foot-long HDPE penstock by using four pumps of various horsepower. The valve house also has a 16-inch bypass flow pipe for when additional water is needed in Pitchfork Falls Creek at certain times of the year. The valve house also has a 28-inch- diameter HDPE penstock to approximately the 2,610-foot elevation where the penstock transitions to a 24-inch-diameter steel pipe to the powerhouse. At the 990-foot elevation the penstock crosses under the historic White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad via an approximately 40-foot-long pipe conduit. At the 777-foot elevation the penstock passes through a 48-inch-diameter pipe conduit over the Skagway River, to the west bank and to the powerhouse, at 769-feet above msl.

Project Name Goat Lake
LIHI Certificate No. 26
LIHI Certificate Term October 23, 2016 - October 23, 2021
Owner Alaska Power and Telephone Company
State Alaska
Location Located at river mile 8.5 on PItchfork Falls Creek
Installed Capacity 4 MW
Average Annual Generation 12,000 MWh
Facility Type Storage project; block loaded, sometimes load following.
FERC No. P-11077 issued 1996, expires 2046

The project operates in a store-and-release mode and the 204-acre lake does not contain a dam. The project does not provide any bypass flows. Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation did not have any flow regime recommendations to protect aquatic biota as the waterbody lacks suitable habitat for native fish populations. A seasonal minimum Pitchfork Falls flow of 8.5 cfs is provided for aesthetic purposes from June 1 through September 30 for 12 hours each day.

Waters within the project reach are designated pristine and water quality testing during licensing found no significant adverse impacts to water quality from the project.

Migratory species have not historically been present in the project area. A downstream barrier is present on the Skagway River that precludes access for migratory fish species. USFWS and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADGF) concluded that the waters in the project area have limited to no value for the support of fish under natural flow conditions. ADFG began a grayling stocking program in 1994 in an attempt to establish a sport fishery in Goat Lake. The project conducted population and habitat surveys in order to determine project drawdown impacts on spawning access. Completed in 2007, the studies indicated that drawdowns did not have a significant impact. Due to the low nutrient content and temperature of the waterbody, the stocking effort was deemed unsuccessful by ADFG.

The project is located on lands owned by the United States Forest Service and the Alaska Department of Natural Resources. No lands of significant ecological value are under the purview of the project.

Cultural resources in the project vicinity include the Skagway Historic District, White Pass National Historic Landmark, Brackett Wagon Road, and a historic telegraph and telephone line dating from World War II. None of these resources are located in the project area and no impacts are expected due to project operations.

The project does not provide any recreational resources and has been left intentionally undeveloped by the United States Forest Service to retain its roadless and wildland character. Non-project recreation is available nearby.

Certification History

March 8, 2017:  The Goat Lake Hydroelectric project is now deemed certified by LIHI for a 5-year term. The effective certification date for the Goat Lake Project is October 23, 2016, expiring on October 23, 2021.

February 10, 2017: On February 8, 2017, LIHI Executive Director Shannon Ames announced a Preliminary Certification Decision that the Goat Lake Hydroelectric Project, LIHI Certificate No. 26 (FERC No. P-11077) continues to satisfy the LIHI Certification Criteria.  Once final, the effective certification date for the Goat Lake Project is October 23, 2016 for a five (5) year term, which will expire on October 23, 2021.

As provided for in Section 4.2.5 of the LIHI 2nd Edition Handbook, the Preliminary Certification Decision, along with the Application Reviewer’s report and (if prepared) report of the Executive Director, will be posted on the Institute’s Web page for 30 days.  Notice of the posting will be provided to all individuals or organizations that commented on the initial Application Package.

Any Commenter may submit a letter to the Executive Director requesting an appeal within the 30-day period.  The appeal request must state specific reasons why the hydropower facility should have failed one or more criteria.  Only individuals or organizations that commented on the initial Application Package may file an appeal.  Further information about the LIHI appeal process is available in the LIHI Handbook, available at  If no appeal is requested within the 30-day period, which begins on February 10 and ends on March 10, the Executive Director will issue final LIHI Certification for the facility and post a notification of certification on the Institute’s website.

December 16, 2016: The Goat Lake certificate has been granted an additional extension of the current certificate term. The new expiration date is March 31, 2017. See the extension letter for explanation below.

September 12, 2016:  The Goat Lake certificate has been granted an extension of the current certificate term. The new expiration date is December 31, 2016. See the extension letter for explanation below.

August 5, 2016: On July 11, 2016, the Low Impact Hydropower Institute received a complete application for a new term of Low Impact Certification for the Goat Lake Hydroelectric project.  The application materials can be found in the Files section below.

LIHI is seeking public comment on this application.  Specifically, we are interested in knowing whether you think the Goat Lake project continues to meet the LIHI Low Impact Certification Criteria.  Please review the program and criteria in LIHI’s revised Handbook and then review the Project’s 2016 application materials posted on the project page.  Comments that are directly tied to specific LIHI criteria (flows, water quality, fish passage, etc.) will be most helpful, but all comments will be considered.  Comments may be submitted to the Institute by e-mail at with “Goat Lake Project Comments” in the subject line, or by mail addressed to the Low Impact Hydropower Institute, PO Box 194, Harrington Park, New Jersey 07640.  Comments must be received at the Institute on or before 5 pm Eastern time on October 5, 2016 to be considered.  All comments will be posted to the web site and the applicant will have an opportunity to respond.  Any response will also be posted.

July 17, 2012: The Goat Lake Hydroelectric Project has been recertified as low impact for a five year term, effective October 23, 2011 and expiring October 23, 2016.

February 15, 2012: Alaska Power and Telephone has submitted an application for recertification of the Goat Lake Project. The original LIHI certification expired on October 23, 2011.

April 2, 2007: The Goat Lake Project has been certified as low impact for a five year term, effective October 23, 2006 and expiring October 23, 2011.

October 23, 2006: Alaska Power and Telephone has submitted an application for certification of the Goat Lake Hydroelectric Project.