March 04, 2007
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.
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
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