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Hydro projects may receive large share of capital budget

by Sue Deyoe ~ April 14th, 2011

aired thurs. -Lawmakers in Juneau are racing to beat their ninety day session deadline.  Many of them seem determined to making sure the Susitna hydro bill passes AND that funding is in place to continue studies.  The budget currently has almost $66 million slated for a kick start of the Susitna hydro project.

A number of hydro projects around the state are receiving funds – from the Copper Valley Hydro project to Kodiak hydro to Mt Spurr geothermal – over 40 million dollars has been allocated to those energy projects and others.

Dave Theriault with Alaska Conservation Voters is one of those that is closely watching energy projects specifically and says funding in the budget for energy projects adds up to almost 400 million dollars. A-C-V has no formal position on any of the projects, but is watching the Susitna hydro project with interest.

Other projects specific to the Northern Valley include the South Denali Visitor Center project, which is slated to receive $3 million on top of the one million received last year.

The proposed wood fired boiler at the Su Valley High School may receive $750,000  if the budget stays as it is.  The funding for that proposal has been off again, on again, for the past couple of years, as advocates for the proposal have worked with the Mat Su Borough to convince the Alaska Energy Authority to dole out grant money for research and funding. The school at Kenny Lake also has over $500,000 in the 2012 budget for a wood fired boiler at their school as well. The school in Tok, which received over $500,000 from the legislature a few years ago as well as Alaska Energy Authority support, has their biomass project up and running.

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