Below is an interesting comment about the Susitna Hydro dam, elicited by a report commissioned by Trout Unlimited and written by Juneau economist Gregg Erickson that says the project isn’t economically viable. It’s unclear if Gov. Bill Walker supports continuing to fund the project—which the state has already invested $193 million into, this time around–and for which there’s $20 million in the current Parnell-budget. In August, Walker told the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner that he would support the project if it stabilized Fairbanks energy costs. But that was before $65 barrel of oil was in sight. In any case, the comment below—which I don’t necessarily endorse–is fairly representative of the complaints I hear about the so-called alternative energy options:
For all the talk of how environmentally unfriendly the Susitna Hydro dam would be, has anyone ever noticed the single hydro feature that provides and protects much of the fish habitat in Bristol Bay and on the Kenai Peninsula, two of the most productive salmon systems in Alaska and the world?
Very large lake systems that have the ability to hold large volumes of water and mitigate harmful flash flood events so common to the Mat-Su.
These extreme flash flood events, besides washing away homes and roads, are very detrimental to fish habitat and egg survival. Large lake systems are rare in the Mat-Su, so you tend to have more common large scale high water events that rearrange rivers, streams and fish habitat – which is not good for salmon production.
But of course anything of human construction such as a large dam in the headwaters of the Susitna would be ipsofacto DOA according to (Trout Unlimited) and other environmentalists.
Why have low cost hydro energy for the next century plus for the railbelt when we can exist and subsist on alternative energy (which in the past 20 years has excommunicated hydro).
We now love, love, love solar (great for Barrow whenever the as yet to be invented Professor MoonBeam moonlight panels come out in 2020) and wind power (which biologically are proving to be bird (usually raptor) killing fields) – both of which are proven to be inefficient and much costlier for large scale, industrial electricity production.
But let’s just make the switch to big Green Electric (who knew that electricity is generated primarily from coal, gas or hydro – Thank you GE-NBC).
Don’t even go towards nuclear – it’s too radioactive – and happily Germans now are learning to love super high electricity rates since they banned their own nuclear power plants after the Fu#!Shi^*a scare affair, which is now acting as a drag on the overall European economy and keeping that enlightened part of the world on its short Russian natural gas leash. But I digress…