Alaska eyes BC transmission link fed by new Alaska hydro

The Alaska Energy Authority is examining the feasibility of a transmission grid linking southeastern Alaska communities with each other and with Canada, providing a sufficient market to develop Alaska hydroelectric projects for domestic power and for export.

The energy authority said a contractor would evaluate engineering, economic, and political factors for developing the hydropower projects, and for building a transmission interconnection into the Canadian province of British Columbia. AEA anticipates completion of a draft report by Dec. 31, so Alaska can consider funding the project in fiscal year 2008.

At an estimated cost of $200,000 to $500,000, the report is to address the feasibility of the concept under a reasonable range of market and ownership scenarios. �Feasibility� is described as confirmation that sufficient power markets exist to attract development of southeastern Alaska’s hydro potential to sell electricity to the region’s communities, and to export the surplus.

Based on the report’s findings, AEA said the contractor might be assigned additional tasks to further evaluate the scheme, and to help the authority advance the project.

The state of Alaska already has appropriated $3.2 million to study and analyze the potential for connecting southeast Alaska with British Columbia, and the North American transmission grid. The interconnection would be known as the Alaska/BC Intertie.

The Southeast Conference, a regional non-profit corporation, adopted a resolution in September supporting development of an intertie with a capability of transmitting 200 MW. The resolution also supports development of the region’s hydro potential.

AEA says the export of energy through the Alaska-BC Interie would enable completion of interties linking currently isolated communities of southeastern Alaska. Energy export could lead to the development of a number of hydro projects, meeting domestic power needs and providing a surplus for export, AEA added.

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