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Viewpoints: Letters / Opinions

Repost of the "Potential hydro power from B.C.Canada"
By A. M. Johnson


December 17, 2012
Monday PM

Greetings Sitnews readers, I would apologize for the transmittal error that had the body of the letter submitted excluded for unknown computer glitch.

It is resubmitted here:

Regards, A.M.Johnson

December 13, 2012
Monday PM

Editor- Sitnews

With the announcement, regarding the City of Ketchikan bringing the diesel power on to the system to counteract the lack of near future water supply for hydro generation, the following may be timely to ask you to print in your valuable community news paper.


Ketchikan, AK

The following letter has been sent and acknowledged by the addressee Ms. Sara Fisher-Goad, associated with Alaska Energy Authority. In turn, she has forwarded the content to Mr. Gene Therriaut, AEA Deputy Director of Energy Policy Development.

It will be interesting to see if there is meaningful direction taken as to the intent. Readily accessible inexpensive energy should Canada/Alaska be willing participants in the exploration of this potentially feasible avenue to energy exchange.

A.M. Al Johnson
Ketchikan, AK

About:"On the subject, some would say I am "power hungry" Those who know me know I am just an old five and dimer, jigging for a cook fish and burning beach wood."

Ms. Sara Fisher-Goad

Executive Director

Alaska Energy Authority

By introduction my name is A.M. (Al) Johnson. I reside in Ketchikan my home town, from adopted birth. Like Senator Stedman, my family has resided in Ketchikan for some near 80 years. I have served several terms on local borough assemblies, and school board.

As such our family has generated jobs and employment as well as being employees of other occupations. In total we have watched as our resource base has deteriorated over the past two decades with little of the bright future as we once knew it.

Yet, on the other side of the border in British Columbia, there is much to behold regarding development, no stagnation as resources are sought out and progress made in accessing those resources.

You are aware of the power transmission line under construction with a completion date of 2014 extending from Terrace B.C. to a transformer base located at Bob Quinn Lake. located some 50 miles radius of Wrangell, the Bradfield Canal, and the Unik River. Behind Wrangell on the Stikine River and on the Unik River above the border, there is vibrate mining activity which you acknowledge on page 5 of 7 in your SEIRP report.

Recently. during the first part of this month, I had occasion to discuss with Senator Stedmen, Ketchikan City Councilmen Richard Coose, and Robert Sivertsen, the status of the Bradfield corridor connection as it may relate to SEAPA. As both Councilmen Coose, a past member of the Southeast Alaska Power Assoc. (SEAPA) and Councilmen Sivertsen a current member of SEAPA, I would note that SEAPA has undertaken a discussion once in the current listing of monthly meetings that being in April where the discussion was not positive towards the Bradfield/Canadian potential as it relates to SEAPA and their power agreement agenda.

This discussion with the two past and present members of SEAPA along with Senator Stedman was a timely discussion. During that discussion, Senator Stedmen illuminated that he had been in past contact with management of B.C.Hydro on this subject. When and with whom, he had conversed he could not provide, instead suggested that I contact B.C.Hydro to ascertain the current thinking from that aspect. This I have initiated with a very preliminary contact with a Mr. Lesley Wood. Stakeholder public relations director. We have not entered into any meaningful dialog, however the contact has been established and I look forward to her comments. (He in fact did respond he was not on board during earlier conversations between Wrangell/Petersburg? contingent) however did suggest contacting a party, Paul Southwind, who has not responded to this date, as a past participant.)

The second aspect of this meeting with the three gentlemen was a pronouncement by Senator Stedman that following the Southeast Conference held in Sitka, I believe, earlier this year, you advised Senator Stedman that your department was 'Blowing the dust" of a study your department had made regarding the Bradfield Canal corridor intertie potential. This after establishing your annual priorities for Southeast Alaska that did not include this study as a subject. This is a significant development and it is accepted as a positive.

Allow me to digress a small degree- It is apparent that the operating perimeter of SEAPA may have served as a vehicle of convenience

It would seem timely to address the obligations of SEAPA, be they monetary (Bond indebtedness) or of physical size of their ability to create new sources on their own. Perhaps a new entry formulated like the Shipyard through ADA funding to access Canada power in addition to any hydro power source within Southeast Alaska including the current SEAPA power agreement sources. A broader operating platform surely is required and SEAPA as formulated will not be flexable enough to embrace such an expansion. to begin the process of developing a power grid among the involved communities to circumvent duplicate efforts in addressing the individual communities, To that degree, it would appear that with the current Thomas Bay (Wrangell/Petersburg) Ketchikan having achieved the current grid, continuing out appears fuzzy at best as the rules of what SEAPA is allowed to do or lacking 100% board favor, doing anything of consequence is evident. Raising the dam at Swan Lake is worthy as a impro
vement to water capacity,not as new power source. Whitman Lake may well be a bust for Ketchikan due to bid cost override, Mahoney is far from being worthy in light of the potential energy demand five years out and the time delay in permitting and Cape Fox will have a harder time accessing SEAPA as a private provider. (My opinion as is all of this transmittal)

Ruth Lake is a pipe dream to this point. Were these projects or additional private hydro projects become viable, it seems SEAPA hold the key to the gate and nobody can buy in without their approval be it voluntary denial, regulation,statue, or IRS..

As a result,it is my initial understanding and perhaps an ill taken position that events are overtaking the ability of SEAPA or individual communities to meet the near future (5 years out?) potential demands for electrical development. (As aside, Diesel generation is not a SEAPA responsibility, yet when the demand is required, rate payers pay for the diesel generation to meet the demand, SEAPA skates on that cost)

In reading your site information and attempting to digest what to me is incorporating the contractual limitations of SEAPA with the individual power potentials identified, private and governmenal, in light of this anticipated electrical power demand. I list two specific local reconized power needs. The undertaking of the redevelopment of the Ward Cove property which I am to understand will require at the very least 4 Migs of power. The second is the potential of the Nibblack mine on Prince of Whales requirement of 6 Migs in the processing of the ore on Gravina Island.(I assume if this address of power measurement is not stated correctly you do understand the drift). and that in general Ketchikan is approximately short 4 Migs for smaller and electrical heat demand that is growing. Speaking in terms of the next five years out demand over current capacity. To this add the increasing demand for electrical home heating to overcome the high cost of petroleum product and the demand time shortens even more. Wrangell and Petersburg are proving this point annually as they draw down the surplus power that is no longer counted on.

As example. It is my understanding that the new swimming pool in Ketchikan is running up $28,000.00 per month and the new fire hall, another $8,000.00. I can not relate that cost to consumption, only that the two items were not in the demand a year ago.

The potential of a intertie with B.C.Hydro would surely establish a meaningful and steady power source as Southeast Alaska developed it hydro potential to a point of transmitting excess power back through B.C.Hydro.

In a later conversation with Ernie Christian,Wrangell resident and current president of a group that has been involved with this project, informed me that Representative Young, some years ago achieved legislation that allow an existing right of way permit running from Tyee to the Canadian border. If this is fact a great deal of the preparatory work has been established more so, the opportunity to construct a sea water access for B.C. resource development would seemingly be promising to their side in discussion. Mr. Wood of B.C. Hydro, allowed that with completion of the transmission line, the two governments, Alaska and B.C. would offer for discussion on such activity regarding electrical access

You will note that I have cc: Mr. Wood for convenience should you desire to make contact. As with all the parties contacted to date, I allow that all should be included in the transmission of email correspondence to assure that the "He said" "She said" is not a factor.

I have no idea how far off base my assumptions are, it will be interesting to have involved parties educate my assumptions.

The intent of this posting to your attention and copying to the other interested parties, is to establish that in fact, your department Alaska Energy Authority as Senator Stedman indicated, has initiated intent and review with a time line to regarding the Bradfield corridor as a more meaningful avenue to access potential immediate power at a more timely schedule (two years plus) than patching together multiply minute power sites that in the main would not equal in any way the potential of accessing the B.C.Hydro transmission line running directly behind Wrangell and Ketchikan, separated by a workable and accessible distance. as an example of patch work, from what I gather, the cost overrun in the estimate to construct Whitman lake by the City of Ketchikan, as mentioned earlier, will result in a reduction in the anticipated projected goal of 4 Megawatts to a potential decision not to continue or to accept a lesser result as the process of bringing the cost in line with the bu
dgeted goal. If this is an actuate assumption it is a serious exposure to the cost of other projects or the ability to develop economical hydro power.

My purpose in contacting B.C.Hydro (Mr. Wood) is to alert their side to this potential and if there is a willingness to receive such a review from the State of Alaska through your department.

As an aside, I have gathered several interesting bits of development information regarding our neighbor to the East, British Columbia. You might find the development and time lines where given, heart stopping in relation to the time lag of Alaska development. Not being critical, just realistic. the question included with the reading of these B.C. projects, is one of there being enough power generation to meet their own demands.

I have no standing other than a concerned citizen for the welfare of the area of the world that I reside in. I suppose it is from the view that government as authorized, will take the lead in establishing methodology and expertise in easing the access where and with other governments or quasi-governmental agencies of those governments involved to assure private industry and communities access in a diplomatic process, that I introduce myself to you.

Please feel free to ask others-'Who is this person?' I like to think myself as an 'Old five and Dimer' burning wood and jigging for a cook fish.

with regards,

Ketchikan, AK

(If the sites given below do not respond, highlight them and copy to the www line on your computer. They should appear.)

B.C.Hydro transmission line

Prince George bio-mass article

Terrace pellet mill proposal

Prince Rupert pellet shipping project

Petroleum refinery-Kitmat,B.C.

Aluminum smelter-Kitmat B.C.

LNG plant-Kitmat B.C.

Prince Rupert LNG terminal project

General mining information

About: One of the little people, struggling on a fixed income, burning beach wood, jigging for a cook fish, reading by a Colman lantern.""

Received December 13, 2012 - Published December 17, 2012



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