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HEA joins railbelt energy cooperative

Posted: Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Homer Electric Association announced this week that it is part of a cooperative energy association with four other railbelt utilities.

HEA's Joe Gallagher said the new organization will most likely advocate for alternative energy projects at the state level. It will probably work with both the state Legislature and the administration, he said. The other members include Matanuska Electric, Golden Valley Electric, Chugach Electric and the City of Seward.

"This should work out really well for railbelt utility customers," he said.

Potential projects are at such a scale that there needs to be a partnership to make them happen, Gallagher said. The group, Alaska Railbelt Cooperative Transmission and Electric Company, hasn't decided what projects it wants to see happen this year.

At last week's economic forum, Willard Dunham, Seward's mayor, said the group would advocate for alternative energy projects.

"We have many needs in the utilities, not just gas reserves," Dunham said.

Gallagher said Bradley Lake, which is a state-owned hydro project, is an example of the sort of partnership that the might occur in the future. He mentioned the proposed Susitna hydro project as the type of upcoming project the group might advocate for.

According to a press release, ARCTEC is similar to the Greater Railbelt Energy and Transmission Corporation, which would have been created by legislation last year had it passed. Gallagher said that ARCTEC doesn't plan to advocate for GRETC again.



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