Read RDC's Comment Letter
Comment deadline was January 18, 2013
In a milestone toward building a project that would provide renewable energy and stable power rates for decades, the Alaska Energy Authority (AEA) has filed its Revised Study Plan for the Susitna-Watana Hydro project with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). The document outlines 58 studies that will comprise the environmental field effort for the next two years.
Filing the Revised Study Plan is a step toward licensing the $4.76 billion project. The AEA is in the early stages of an anticipated six-year FERC licensing effort for the project.
Susitna-Watana could produce approximately 2,800,000 MWh of electricity, more than half of the 5,400,000 MWh annual demand of the Alaska Railbelt, an area containing nearly 80 percent of the state’s population. The project is 184 river miles upstream from the mouth of the Susitna River.
The Revised Study Plan moves AEA closer toward filing for a FERC license in 2015 and to bring the project online by 2024. The study plan process is extremely interactive with multiple opportunities for public involvement. Technical work group meetings were held over several months and multiple drafts of the study plans were published in an effort to incorporate stakeholder feedback. The Revised Study Plan will build upon the significant historical information from the 1980s Susitna Hydroelectric licensing effort and the early year of study in 2012.
RDC members are requested to participate in the process by submitting supportive comments on the Revised Study Plan and urging its timely adoption.
Comments are accepted online through Friday, January 18 by e-filing for the docket number P-14241-000.
http://www.FERC.gov Docket #P-14241-000
FERC is expected to make its study plan determination February 1, 2013. The Revised Study Plan is available at:
Points to consider in your comments:
Comment deadline was January 18, 2013
- FERC’s timely adoption of the Revised Study Plan is important to Alaska residents and the state’s economy. Given projected energy shortages, there is no room for delay. In addition, a delay in the adoption of the Revised Study Plan would impact the 2013 field season and the project overall.
- The Revised Study Plan is thorough and strikes a balance between the need for long-term power and environmental concerns.
- The new plan came out of an extremely interactive public process. AEA organized Technical Working Groups in several key resource areas. Multiple drafts of the study plans were published in an effort to incorporate stakeholder feedback.
- In an effort to reach consensus on the study plan process, AEA posted draft plans on its website to keep stakeholders informed and solicit additional feedback. Clearly, AEA went above and beyond FERC regulatory requirements in an effort to reach consensus with licensing participants.
- The Revised Study Plan includes 58 individual studies on top of AEA’s additional year of field work in 2012.
- The Revised Study Plan will build upon a wealth of significant historical and relevant information from the 1980s Susitna Hydroelectric licensing effort, where more than 3,000 individual reports were filed. This solid foundation provides a unique advantage for the new project.
- The project site is 35 river miles upstream from Devils Canyon, a natural impediment to salmon migration.
- The Gold Creek stream gauge has been collecting flow data for more than half a century, one of the longest-standing gauges in the nation. This provides valuable information for Susitna Hydro to better predict future trends.
- Susitna-Watana will help diversify Alaska’s energy portfolio, while providing renewable and reliable energy for 100-plus years.
- The project would fulfill 50 percent of the Alaska Railbelt’s annual power demand, serving nearly 80 percent of the state’s population.
- Alaska needs long-term stable-priced energy, which would benefit local residents, businesses, and the state’s economy. Southcentral Alaska faces uncertain natural gas supplies while Fairbanks utility costs are 143 percent higher than the typical U.S. household.