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Lt. Gov. Treadwell Promotes Susitna-Watana Power Potential


August 14, 2013, Seattle, WA – Alaska’s plans for the new Susitna-Watana hydroelectric dam promise to double the state’s use of renewable sources of electricity, Lt. Governor Mead Treadwell told a global meeting of dam builders and hydroelectric operators meeting today in Seattle.

Alaska's huge hydro potential statewide was the focus of Treadwell's keynote address to the International Conference on Large Dams (ICOLD), which brought industry and government representatives from across the globe to the U.S. for the first time in nearly two decades. Treadwell discussed Alaska’s broad energy portfolio and the role of proposed hydropower and tidal power in the state. He said he would pass on to the Alaska Energy Authority (AEA) inquiries he has received from potential investors in Alaska power projects from other nations. 

“Susitna-Watana is not Alaska’s only hydroelectric project, but it’s certainly our most ambitious, and has the most potential. The Susitna Dam project could satisfy half of the Railbelt’s electricity demand,” Treadwell said.

AEA plans to file a license with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission license by 2015 for the $5 billion, 600 megawatt project northeast of Talkeetna.  This year, the legislature appropriated $95.2 million for engineering and environmental work to ensure the project is safe and sustainable for the environment, Treadwell said. 

Lt. Gov. Treadwell is committed to supporting Governor Sean Parnell’s goal to achieve 50% of Alaska’s energy needs from renewables by 2025. This is one of the most ambitious renewable energy goals in the nation, aimed at creating a diverse energy portfolio for a future containing both renewables and fossil fuels.

“Our statewide economy – from the airlines, to the military, to our fisheries industry – depends on competitively priced energy,” Treadwell said. “Undoubtedly, Alaska has some of the most difficult geography for power production and efficiency, and our high costs of energy have forced us to be innovative.”

Despite the challenges, Alaska is rich in energy resources, Treadwell said. From a renaissance of activity in the Arctic, oil and gas, minerals and diverse renewable sources – including wind, biomass, geothermal, solar, and hydropower – Alaska has the resources to supply domestic energy demands.

“Alaska has the potential to offset the high cost of energy in Alaska and to keep America strong for decades,” Treadwell said. “Our current energy developments, infrastructure investments, and innovative research will help provide low-cost energy solutions for Alaskans and energy security for America for years to come.”

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