Earlier this month, Alaska Energy Authority acquired a transmission line that delivers power generated by the Bradley Lake hydroelectric project to GVEA. It is the least expensive source of power available to GVEA.
The transmission line is referred to as the SSQ Line and was formerly owned by Homer Electric Association. It runs between the Sterling Substation and the Quartz Creek Substation on Kenai Lake, but was damaged in the Swan Lake Fire in 2019. It took four months to restore service, during which GVEA customers saw an increase in the cost of power.
Now that AEA owns the line, possible upgrades could benefit all Railbelt customers, including GVEA. John Burns, GVEA president and CEO, said the acquisition will allow GVEA to get more Bradley Lake power, “which is the cheapest source of power for GVEA.”
AEA also owns the Alaska Intertie, a 170-mile transmission line between Willow and Healy, linking GVEA with less expensive power generated in Southcentral Alaska. According to Curtis Thayer, executive director of AEA, the intertie providing an annual average cost savings of $40 million between 2008 and 2018.