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Time to develop renewable energy

Posted: Friday, April 17, 2009

We must make the development of renewable energy on the Kenai Peninsula our primary goal at HEA. Renewable energy technologies now used at full commercial scale around the world are safe and reliable.

We can use these technologies to harness the resources of wind, tidal, wave, current, solar, geothermal and hydro, all of which are available locally.

Whereas the cost of energy from fossil fuels is unstable and destined to rise, the cost of energy from renewables is stable.

Local renewable energy would mean direct control over power generation, and it would create good jobs for local residents, both growing and retaining wealth on the peninsula.

We can also develop capacity through net metering, which encourages members to provide electricity for other members through the use of small generators like residential-scale wind turbines.

As an interim measure, while renewable energy is being investigated and developed we could satisfy our energy needs by extending the current agreements for five to 10 years. This is much better than contractually obligating ourselves to buying coal power from Healy for the next 50 years.

Our governor is calling for Alaska to achieve 50 percent renewable capacity in the next 15 years, and our president is providing billions of dollars to help make this happen. HEA should seize this opportunity to become a leader in developing renewable energy.

Soon we must decide whether to commit HEA to a project with a record of failure and high costs; or to invest in the development of proven technology that promises stable rates and good jobs.

It is time to develop renewable energy on the Kenai Peninsula. This won't happen overnight -- it's going to take a lot of work and a long time. We better start now.

Jim Levine

Homer



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