State, Yukon to study economic corridor

Expanding broadband availability and increasing access to affordable electricity in Southeast Alaska and the Yukon will be the focus of a government report. The State of Alaska and the Government of the Yukon signed an agreement Friday to research an economic development corridor between Southeast and the Yukon that would allow for an improved broadband network that would potentially link Juneau, Ketchikan and Prince Rupert and would allow for shared energy projects.

“Communications infrastructure and affordable energy are the foundations needed to build stronger communities,” Department of Commerce Commissioner Susan Bell said in a statement.

A proposed hydroelectric project in the Portland Canal near Hyder-Stewart would likely benefit from a report supporting the so-called economic corridor between Alaska and the Yukon. In August, Alaska Power and Telephone applied for a Presidential permit for the Soule River Hydroelectric Project, which the company estimates would create enough electricity to power 77,000 homes. The company needs the permit to construct a 12-mile long transmission line that would originate in the Soule River and continue to the BC Hydro Stewart substation. In an August interview with the Juneau Empire, AP&T President Bob Grimm said the project would mean connecting Alaska to the grid.

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