Energy Authority Seeking 50-Year Plan for Projects

Joe Viechnicki, KFSK – Petersburg

The Alaska Energy Authority is seeking companies to write a 50-year plan for energy projects and transmission lines in Southeast Alaska.

The Integrated Resource Plan will take about a year to complete and will help communities seek state funding for new power projects. Jim Strandberg is project manager with the AEA.

The AEA has already completed a similar plan for communities in the Railbelt. Strandberg says the Southeast planning process will include opportunities for public input. He says the AEA will hold a technical conference sometime in the spring to discuss the energy issues in Southeast.

The new document will also update an existing regional plan for transmission lines. Petersburg, Wrangell, Ketchikan and Saxman are already connected…and older plans call for connecting Kake, Metlakatla and other communities to the power grid. Work is underway to study the link between Petersburg and Kake. The new plan will identify which transmission lines and new power projects need to be built. It will also look at whether some communities may be too remote and too costly to connect to the regional power grid and whether there are renewable energy sources nearer those towns that would be a better option.

The new planning document is expected to cost as much as $400,000. The state appropriated half a million dollars for the effort this past year.

The deadline for firms to submit proposals to write the Integrated Resource Plan is Jan. 13. The AEA hopes an early list of capital projects could be completed in time for the start of the state budget process a year from now.

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