Mat-Su winds create megawatts of power

Posted: Friday, August 24, 2007

WASILLA - The winds of change could bring megawatts of clean power to the Mat-Su Valley.

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Matanuska Electric Association recently announced it would sacrifice its portion of the Railbelt Energy Fund if the state transfers the entire fund into the pending Renewable Energy Fund. A recent Mat-Su Borough poll shows that 88 percent of Valley residents want their electricity to come from renewable sources, like wind.

But of 205 megawatts of proposed electric generation proposed in Matanuska Electric Association's Integrated Resource Plan, five come from renewable resources, according to MEA's 2007 Integrated Resource Plan. Matanuska Electric draws 19.5 megawatts from the Eklutna Lake and Bradley Lake hydroelectric projects.

Within 50 miles of the Railbelt Intertie, the high-voltage line strung from Seward to Fairbanks, lie several unique sources of renewable power.

The volcanic Mount Spurr has the potential to produce megawatts of renewable geothermal power, according to the Alaska Energy Authority.

Adjacent to Mount Spurr is Lake Chakachamna, a potential 300-400 megawatt hydropower source, according to a 1980s study by the Alaska Power Authority. South of Lake Chakachamna are Cook Inlet's Forelands.

A scaled down Susitna Dam project could provide the Mat-Su Valley with at least 200-megawatts according to Earle Ausman of Polar Consultants.

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