Alaska has a long, successful history of harnessing power safely from its abundant natural resources. Susitna-Watana Hydro is part of the state’s long-term energy policy that calls for generating 50 percent of Alaska’s power from renewable energy by 2025.
Today, Alaskans get most of their energy from fossil fuels like oil, natural gas and coal. While these sources will continue to play an important role the state’s energy future, Alaska is one of the most ambitious states in the nation when it comes to pursuing renewable energy.
Susitna-Watana Hydro will help Alaska diversify its energy portfolio to meet the current and future demands of residents and businesses. With an estimated project lifespan of 100 years, Susitna-Watana Hydro will provide about 50 percent of the Railbelt’s electricity needs using clean, renewable hydropower. Together with wind, soloar, geothermal and other renewable energy sources, Susitna-Watana Hydro will deliver power and stable rates to many generations of Alaskans.
Clean, Reliable Power
Susitna-Watana Hydro will use water from a remote section of the Susitna River to generate an estimated 2,800,000-megawatte hours (MWh) of electricity annually. That’s enough electricity to meet roughly 50 percent of the current Railbelt’s electricity demands.
Stable Electricity Rates for Business and Consumers
Alaska has a long, successful history of using hydropower to generate electricity. Susitna-Watana Hydro will deliver power to the Railbelt at rates competitive with other sources of energy. A key benefit of Susitna-Watana Hydro is that once online, wholesale power rates will remain consistent over the 100-year life of the project. That means consumers and businesses can count on long-term, stable rates to help offset the price volatility of other sources of energy.
Helps Alaska Achieve 50 percent Renewable Energy Goal
In 2010, the Alaska Legislature and Gov. Sean Parnell adopted a Renewable Energy Goal for Alaska – one of the most ambitious in the nation. It calls for 50 percent of Alaska’s power to be generated by renewable energy sources by 2025.
The Alaska Energy Authority is pursuing a variety of renewable energy projects including wind, solar, geothermal, biomass, tidal and others. Susitna-Watana Hydro will provide a substantial portion of the renewable energy needed to meet this goal.
Susitna-Watana Hydro will provide about 1,000 good-paying jobs during peak construction. Even now, the project is employing engineers, fieldworkers, scientists and dozens of local businesses to conduct studies and other evaluations as part of the permitting process.
Once online, Susitna-Watana Hydro will employ a staff of about 20 to maintain and operate the dam.