When the Bradley Lake Dam began operating in 1991, power was 4.5 cents a kilowatt hour.
“But guess what?” said Dyok. “2012. It’s still four-and-a-half cents.”
Dyok also touted another benefit. He said it would help the state reach its goal of having half of its electricity generated by renewable energy by 2025.
Some like Sue Libenson, who is executive director of the Alaska Center for the Environment, remain skeptical.
“Now the question is, what’s the best way to reach that goal?” said Libenson, “And if we’re going to throw this kind of money at it, whether this particular project is the best investment.” Libenson says $4.3 billion is a sizeable chunk of Alaska’s Permanent Fund, or could go a long ways towards making the state retirement fund solvent.
Libenson also says the AEA's estimate doesn't include other costs like building road access and adding new electrical lines. Lebenson these requirements would also have environmental impacts.
Another potential hurdle the project could face is the impact on king salmon that spawn upriver from where the canyon would be built.
“We think the number of fish that were identified in the 1980’s and most recently are a small fraction of the overall population of king salmon, but every salmon is important,” says Doyok, who told the chamber he is hopeful ways can be found to mitigate the impact of the dam.
Some are also concerned that this project, which will require state subsidies, might draw away potential funding for a natural gas line. But Dyok says, it’s good for the state to diversify its energy portfolio.
Dyok says the goal is to get the project licensed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission by 2017 and begin construction that year. If that happens, Dyok says the hydro-electric project could begin generating power in 2023.
FERC will begin hearings next month on the proposed dam. The following dates and locations have been scheduled:
-Loussac Library, 6-10 p.m.
-Loussac Library, 9 a.m.-2 p.m.
-Menard Sports Center, Wasilla, 6-10 p.m.,
-Su-Valley Jr/Sr High School, Talkeetna, 6-10 p.m.
-Caribou Café Banquet Room, Glennallen, 6-10 p.m.
-Westmark Hotel and Conference Center, Fairbanks, 6-9 p.m.
-Cantwell Community Hall, Cantwell, 6-10 p.m.