SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Governor's Budget Amendments Include $28 Million for Intertie


March 04, 2007

Ketchikan, Alaska - The Swan Lake - Tyee Lake hydroelectric intertie project would receive $28 million under Governor Sarah Palin's proposed budget amendments released Thursday. If the project funds are approved this year by the Alaska Legislature, the intertie will go online in the last quarter of 2009.

jpg Swan Lake Project

The Swan Lake Project is located approximately 22 air miles northeast of Ketchikan, Alaska, on Falls Creek which drains from Swan Lake to Carroll Inlet on Revillagigedo Island.
Photograph by Mike Martin ©

The project stalled for lack of funding in the fall of 2004. At that time $55 million had been spent and the project was over half-way complete. This made funding for the hydroelectric intertie stand out as a priority.

The Four Dam Pool Power Agency has requested $46.2 million to complete the 57-mile project which connects the Tyee Lake hydro facility south of Wrangell with the Swan Lake hydro facility near Ketchikan. The project is fully permitted, the Right-of-Way has been cleared and 50% of the micropile foundations have been installed. A combination of federal, state and local funds have financed the project so far. When complete, the line will enable 63 million kilowatt-hours of surplus Tyee Lake hydropower to be delivered to Ketchikan.

Unlike many other parts of Alaska, the Southeast region would never directly benefit from the energy a natural gas pipeline could provide. The huge potential of hydropower in the future makes a regional hydroelectric power grid the equivalent of a gas pipeline to Southeast Alaska. Also, exporting power to the North American power grid in the future would help the rate payers of Southeast Alaska.

Representative Kyle Johansen (R-Ketchikan) said Wednesday he is extremely pleased the Governor recognizes the importance of this project. "The time is now for this intertie," Johansen said. "For more than a decade, Southeast Alaskans have been frustrated that the energy equivalent of 5 million barrels of No.1 heating fuel goes unused annually in the form of excess water spilled over the top of the dam at Tyee Lake."

"The Governor sent a clear message in her 'State of the State' Address and in her comments last fall at Southeast Conference supporting funding for completing the Swan Lake - Tyee Lake hydroelectric intertie," said Johansen. "Alaska must invest in stable sources of clean and renewable energy, like hydro, for the future of its residents and businesses. By taking this first step in completing an eventual Southeast regional power grid, Governor Palin is producing results that will benefit Alaskans in the region for decades." He said, "This helps individual Alaskans and businesses struggling with high energy costs from diesel fuel. It will spur economic development while also being better for the environment."

Senator Bert Stedman (R-Sitka) also praised Gov. Palin's $28.0 million FY 08 Capital Budget amendment for the Swan Lake-Lake Tyee electrical intertie.

"Over the last three months, I've worked with Gov. Palin and her budget team on a financial plan for completing this critical infrastructure project. Today's amendment is a huge validation of those efforts and a clear indication that the Governor believes as I do, that the Swan-Tyee intertie is a project of statewide importance", Stedman said.

Governor Palin's $28.0 million amendment represents 60% of the funds the Four Dam Pool estimates are needed to complete the project. Stedman, who is responsible for writing the FY08 capital appropriation bill in the Senate, is confident that the legislature will explore options for financing the additional $18.2 million during this year's capital budget process.

"I'd like to thank the Governor for this initial appropriation. I will continue working with her administration and my legislative colleagues to fully fund this project before our Forest Service permits expire in 2009", Stedman said.

The Swan-Tyee intertie is the backbone of a planned regional power grid which, when complete, will provide Southeast Alaska with a renewable source of reliable energy. The State Chamber of Commerce and the Southeast Conference have identified the project as one of the state's top economic development priorities.

"I will continue working jointly with Senator Stedman to educate and build support from legislators for the funding of the intertie this session. The Governor's support for the project is a key step in completion of this basic infrastructure so important to our future," Johansen added.


Source of News:

Office of Senator Bert Stedman

Office of Rep. Kyle Johansen


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Ketchikan, Alaska