Major Alaska Hydro-Electric Project Moves Another Step to Fruition

We have been tracking the proposed 700 ft. high dam at Watana on the Susitna River. The dam will be the highest built in the United States in decades. It is projected to provide more than half of the Railbelt’s (Alaska‘s main population corridor) power needs when it is opened for operation in 2022 (anticipated date).

Lawmakers moved another step closer by giving the go-ahead for the Susitna River Hydroelectric project on April 19, 2011, but the hydro plant is still a long way from becoming a reality. The $4 billion price tag has been met with a fair amount of controversy, and state officials recently said the state would need to heavily subsidize the project to keep energy costs affordable. The legislation will allow the Alaska Energy Authority (AEA) to own and operate the project, much as Bradley Lake was bought by the State of Alaska in the 1980s. Political wrangling in Alaska is no different than other states, but this recent Bill moves the project one step closer to fruition.

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