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Bradley Lake Hydroelectric Project. Located on the Kenai Peninsula near Homer, this project was constructed by the Alaska Power Authority and began commercial operation in 1991. The system currently transmits power to the state’s main grid via two parallel 20-mile transmission lines, and provides electrical power to Chugach Electric Association, Anchorage Municipal Light and Power, Homer Electric Association, Matanuska Electric Association, Seward Electric Utility and Golden Valley Electric Association. The City & Borough of Sitka owns two hydroelectric projects called the Blue Lake Project and the Green Lake Project which supply virtually all of the electrical power to Sitka and the nearby communities. The escalation of fuel costs has driven an unforeseen rise in electrical demand as residents are finding it cheaper to heat with electrical energy as opposed to heating oil. This combined with the new fish processing businesses in Sitka have significantly increased the community’s electrical demand. These load increases have prompted the City and Borough of Sitka to propose the Blue Lake Expansion project, which will consist of adding a third generating turbine and raising the existing project dam by as much as 83 feet. Construction on this project could start as early as spring 2012, and these improvements are estimated to provide an additional 33 gigawatt hours of electricity every year—a 50 percent increase over the existing project output.

In 2011, Valley Recycling Center installed solar panels to offset energy costs.

Capital Investments

With all of the advancements in renewable energy, fossil fuels are still the most widely used energy source in Alaska. As fossil fuel prices increase and supplies decrease, Alaskans will be faced with some tough decisions. “The initial outlay of capital investment is the leading reason many people do not invest in renewable energy sources,” Kuentzel says. “These systems are investments in our future and yet it is nearly impossible to get financing from a lending institution to offset the initial expense of renewable energy technology. Microsystems empower people to be their own energy manager. At the very least, we should offer some affordable options.” q • Alaska Business Monthly • April 2012


April - 2012 - Alaska Business Monthly  
April - 2012 - Alaska Business Monthly  

Alaska Business Monthly’s 2012 Corporate 100 annual special section begins on page 86. Top citizens of industry are highlighted in this annu...