Alaska should use hydro and wind energy

Posted: Monday, December 24, 2007

Southeast Alaska has the British thermal unit equivalent of the North Slope in clean, renewable energy: Hydro, tidal, wind and geo-thermal.

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Create an opportunity to break Southeast Alaska's addiction to diesel and build a stable and sustainable energy foundation for our economic future.

The planet is crying out for Southeast Alaska's clean, renewable energy. Global leaders from around the world want the United States to reduce its emissions and we, Southeast Alaska, can help make that happen. How, you ask.

First, compile all the potential energy sites. In 1947, the Federal Power Commission studied the hydro-electricity potential of Southeast and identified production locations. To that, add potential tidal, wind and geo-thermal sites for a complete picture of electricity production potential.

Second, design transmission lines that connect our communities, maximize production opportunities identified in step one, and create "pipelines" to export surplus power to British Columbia, Washington, Oregon and California.

Third, create a regional carbon credit trading entity to finance the construction of the transmission lines and production facilities.

Last, reap the financial and economic rewards of low cost, clean renewable energy. It would allow local businesses to add value to our natural resources such as fish processors and lumber manufacturing. It would reduce the cost of living for everyone and reduce the operating expenses for businesses, schools, and municipal governments. Low cost, clean, renewable energy will attract new businesses and industries better diversifying our economy against future economic shocks.

In my humble opinion, the benefits of reducing Southeast Alaska's consumption of oil, gas, diesel and other hydro-carbons far outweighs the environmental cost of a few trees in the transmission line corridors delineated in Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act. Gov. Sarah Palin can free Southeast from its addiction to oil and jump-start its economy by investing in a regional electric grid with at least one but ideally two export routes: 1) a northern route up the Taku River and 2) a southern route. A regional electric grid with export capabilities will accrue wealth to those living here in Southeast as well as the entire state of Alaska.

Bradley J. Fluetsch


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