by Diana Haecker ~ January 19th, 2011
Governor Sean Parnell is actively pushing to make the Susitna Hydro project a reality and submitted a bill to the legislature that would authorize the Alaska Energy Authority to move forward with the project.Parnell said the project must go ahead to create new opportunities for economic development and jobs for Alaskans. According to the bill, the Susitna hydro project would supply 50 percent of the needed energy in the railbelt.
The proposed bill would put AEA in charge to acquire, construct, own and operate new power projects. It also proposes to end the existing Railbelt Energy Fund and to create a new Railbelt Energy Fund that would be controlled by AEA.
The governor’s bill would give AEA sweeping authority to go ahead with environmental and feasibility studies and to seek preliminary approvals for the Su Dam project from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
The Su Hydro project, as currently proposed, would dam the Susitna River at Watana and create a nine-mile long water reservoir.