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AEA Reaches Susitna-Watana Hydro Milestone

Anchorage, AK- The Alaska Energy Authority (AEA) has filed its Revised Study Plan for Susitna-Watana Hydro with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the agency responsible for licensing non-federal hydroelectric projects. The document outlines fifty-eight individual studies that will comprise the environmental field effort for the next two years.

Said Sara Fisher-Goad, AEA executive director, “Filing the Revised Study Plan is the culmination of nearly a year's worth of work. We feel this study effort moves us closer toward filing for a FERC license on time in 2015 and helps provide the balance between the need for long-term power and environmental concerns.”

Throughout FERC licensing, the study planning process is extremely iterative with multiple opportunities for public involvement. Technical work-group meetings were held over several months and multiple drafts of the study plans were published in an effort to incorporate stakeholder feedback..

“AEA has been committed to engaging Alaskans and both state and federal resource agencies to develop a responsible environmental field program. The Revised Study Plan will build upon the significant historical information from the 1980s Susitna Hydroelectric licensing effort and the early year of study in 2012,” continued Fisher-Goad.

Filing the Revised Study Plan triggered a FERC public comment deadline through Jan. 18, 2013. Comments are accepted online at the FERC.gov (e-filing) for the docket number P-14241. FERC is expected to make its study plan determination Feb. 1, 2013.

Also on Friday, Gov. Parnell released his capital and operating budgets and included $95 million for Susitna-Watana Hydro. This funding will be used for environmental field work, geotechnical investigations and engineering design through FY 2014.

The Revised Study Plan is available online at Susitna-WatanaHydro.org.

Susitna-Watana Hydro would be located at river mile 184 on the Susitna River, above Devils Canyon, and would provide long-term, stable rates for 100+ years. It is estimated to provide a little more than half of the Railbelt’s electrical demand.

The Alaska Energy Authority is a public corporation of the state whose mission is to reduce the cost of energy in Alaska. More information can be found at AKEnergyAuthority.org.

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