With Snow River hydro project halted, Chugach looks to wind, solar resources
Chugach Electric Association halted a study on hydroelectricity on Snow River after public outcry that the dam could impact the fishery.
Communications manager Julie Hasquet said the company will continue to look into other renewable forms of energy.
She said there’s enough energy to meet Anchorage’s demand right now, but the bigger concern is for future residents.
“When you go out three, four, five decades we need to find some long-term sustainable energy resources,” Hasquet said.
A graph presented at a public meeting in Moose Pass showed how the natural gas supply drops off after 2030. The Snow River hydro project would have filled in a little bit of the gap during that time.
Now, there’s a large hole of unmet needs with no resource options to fill it.
“We have community solar, we’re looking at the possibility of doing more wind, we have an electric car study going on,” Hasquet explained. “Snow River was not just a one-trick pony if you will. We look at a variety of options all the time.”
Natural gas currently makes up 76 percent of our energy supply. Hydroelectric power from three projects — Cooper Lake, Bradley Lake and Eklutna — makes up 20 percent. The remaining four percent comes from the Fire Island wind turbines.
Hasquet said Chugach is also looking to solar power as an option, specifically community solar.
“Community solar is where you build a project in one location, perhaps on the roof of a school or somewhere here on the Chugach campus and then people can buy a piece of it. They offset their energy bill by the piece they’ve purchased with the solar project,” Hasquet said.
Chugach wants to find the right mix of resources to ensure Alaskans aren’t left in the dark.
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