We have been following Alaska energy projects in the A&C blog for some years now. Here are two recent developments:
Susitna-Watana Hydroelectric Project: Alaska is poised to build the largest U.S. river dam in decades on the Susitna River: the Susitna-Watana Hydroelectric Project as it is now officially known. The Alaska legislature approved $65 million to assess geological and hydrological issues, as well as fish surveys. The licensing process has begun with the Federal Energy Regulation Commission. Electricity from the hydro projects, which is estimated to cost $5.4 billion, will serve the Alaskan Railbelt (the stretch of development from Anchorage to Fairbanks).
Alaska Stand Alone Gas Pipeline (ASAP): Another energy project making the news in Alaska is the Alaska Stand Alone Gas Pipeline, known by the acronym “ASAP.” Yes, the acronym ignores the “G” from the word “Gas,” but, as Senator L. McGuire tells it, the acronym follows Governor Sarah Palin’s use of “trite terms” in naming things.
ASAP will involve a 737 mile pipeline from the North Slope south to Anchorage along the Parks Highway. A lateral is planned to carry gas into Fairbanks. The idea is that the pipeline will deliver 500 million cubic feet per day from the north slope to Anchorage and Fairbanks and will cost $7.2 million to build “plus or minus 30%” according to Dan Fauske, head of the Alaska Gasoline Development Corp. (so $5-$10 billion depending). The line is planned to be completed in 2018 with full transmission in 2019. Draft environmental impact statements are expected to be done this month. The state of Alaska is already committed to giving TransCanada up to $500 million to subsidize the 48″ diameter line from the North Slope to Canada, which is part of the Alaska Gasline Inducement Act (AGIA).