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Viewpoints: Letters / Opinions

Ketchikan's Energy Strategy.
By Ken Bylund


February 29, 2012
Wednesday PM

Who is John Galt? The Ketchikan City Council is considering the problem of dwindling electrical hydro-electric capacity? Good. The Mahoney Lake issue then... still not being considered? We still face the + $50 million pool & library bonds... now citizens are being told they might need to go back to wood burning stoves so SEAPA can heat the new pool/spa and new library? And SEAPA, do they have a gun to our head? It appears we have met their criteria; can we now buy power from Cape Fox as discussed in Mr. Bergeron's Opinion page of 9/19/2011?

Now, feel the nudge? That diesel surcharge, and in the very near future, we'll be "pushed" into compliance; Ketchikan's home heat is to be based on wood/pellet burning stoves. Anyone think that will bring investors and families into our community? What is the breakdown on the shortfall of the Tyee electrical inter-tie? How can this capital investment not support a community that hasn't grown in decades? Electric heaters; how many houses does it take to overwhelm the Tyee power grid?

The consultant... will s/he get a "script" to support this "conservation position" or is s/he free to define how we got into this debacle and recommend a course change? The Mahoney Lake is reported to have 2 1/2 times the potential annual energy of Whitman Lake. So why is/was this plum capital project being ignored when at the same time the $400 million "Bridge to No Where" was touted as a draw to future growth and prosperity?

Hydro-electric energy is clean, conserves our carbon based resources beyond the initial cost of construction... which creates jobs, and it's darn near free. Not so with pellet stoves, hassle of buying, delivering, cleaning, dumping ash, the fuel/transport cost to barge tons of pellets to Ketchikan. Rain/snow melt-water into Mahoney... it's free, and it's natural, zero delivery/dumping obstacles.

Ten to twelve years lead-time, and no dam construction at Mahoney Lake is necessary? Who is John Galt? Mahoney Lake is five/six miles from the city power station; closer to Swan/Tyee transmission lines, and it would've been well on its way to completion if certain special interests hadn't interfered by dragging their collective feet. Why are destructive decisions from government bending to the will of a monopoly that holds the survival of our community hostage? Governor Parnell... are you there? Is no one with talent willing to pull this mental-mule out of the quicksand?

Ketchikan Gateway Borough and City Government should look at mapping a strategy away from this ongoing decline into collective bankruptcy, but don't expect answers... never get them. Obfuscation and CYA stories that wrap around until the reader is no longer aware of what the question was... Philip Lieberman said of language, that we have evolved a dedicated short term memory that allows us to communicate; that without it we would forget what was being said before we got to the end of the sentence... that's how politicians thrive... long run-on sentences.

Idea!! Work/Focus on obtaining state and federal approval/funds to harness Mahoney Lake and you/we begin down the road to provide a long term investment of lasting value; you'll improve your reputation and our community's long-term survival.

Ken Bylund
Ketchikan, AK


Received February 29, 2012 - Published February 29, 2012

Related Viewpoint:

letterConservation Is the Answer to Our Short Term Hydro Energy Needs By Samuel Bergeron

letter The Mahoney Lake and Whitman Lake Hydroelectric projects, how can we bring them online? 09/19/11 By Samuel Bergeron


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