Bills to advance Watana dam should be passed

Posted: Monday, April 11, 2011

It is important to all of us that the legislature passes HB103 and SB42. These bills would authorize the establishment of a state agency that would take the critical next steps in advancing the Watana hydro-electric project through the FERC permitting process. In a world of never ending increases in carbon based energy prices, Watana would represent a permanent fund of energy cost savings for Alaskans for decades to come.

Continuing what will likely be a 10-year process before completion, we ask that they move this project forward through these bills. Had the project not been stopped 25 years ago, we would already have in place cheap, renewable and inflation proof energy for the Railbelt for the next 100+ years.

But, it is not too late. We need to keep moving forward; delay could be a huge lost opportunity. The studies for this project were completed 25 years ago; they just need updating for FERC. Most questions people have are already answered in those studies. Watana is said to be the most environmentally acceptable hydro site in our nation.

We look forward to their support, and plan to work with them and the public in the coming years to make sure this far-sighted project is realized. Alaska needs this capital project -- the Watana Dam.

Robert C. Penney; Chairman,

Susitna Hydro -- Unlock Renewable Energy



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