The Homer Electric Authority (HEA) is pushing ahead with all that remains of what was once a proposal to build a network of multiple hydroelectric dams, reservoirs, intakes, roads, diversions, pipelines, tunnels, powerhouses, and transmission lines that would have, irreversibly, industrialized the headwaters of the Kenai River near Cooper Landing, Moose Pass and Seward.
Parnell said the two gas lines should be pursued for the same reason that the proposed Susitna-Watana dam should remain in the mix for Alaska’s energy future -- it’s not clear yet which one is the best bet.
The list of mega-projects should not be trimmed "until we have something in hand for Alaskans," Parnell said.
“Yes, everything has to be on the table, yes you have to prioritize spending,” he said in a recent Anchorage Chamber of Commerce debate.
“But until that point where we have to make a significant, a really significant financial decision, we should not be choosing whether cheaper energy comes to Alaskans from Susitna-Watana or from a gas line,” he said. “We need to push forward both projects until we get certainty on one,” he said.
The October newsletter for Chugach electric reports a steady decline in residential energy use in rail-belt Alaska for all utilities over the last decade and shows a USDA graph for 5 utilities. The article does not say the reason for the decline. It might be a good story for media to investigate – are more Alaskans going to Hawaii for the winter or is energy conservation paying off?
As climate change brings new threats to subsistence communities across Alaska’s coastlines, a conference held in Anchorage is advocating community-based solutions, and not waiting any longer for government assistance.