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North Slope power

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Posted: Sunday, October 21, 2012 7:40 pm | Updated: 11:39 am, Mon Jan 21, 2013.

Oct. 18, 2012

To the editor:

I recently was shown an Aug. 15 Anchorage Daily News article about an Alaska Native joint venture company called Marsh Creek that has proposed building an electric generating plant on the North Slope and delivering electricity to Fairbanks for 9.3 cents per kilowatt. That would be comparable to heating fuel at about $2 per gallon and less than half what we are paying for electricity.

This plan would transmit direct current power to Anchorage with a converter station in Fairbanks and a price tag of about $4 billion. That sounds like a lot but not compared to a $10 billion dam or a $65 billion gas line (neither of which promise any significant reductions in our heating or energy costs).

With the existing infrastructure, most homes could heat with electricity. No costly disruptive gas lines buried in streets and yards. No dangerous trucks hauling gas on highways and roads. No huge tank farms filled with explosive natural gas. And imagine the reduction in our air quality problems if we could turn off most of those stinky oil and coal generators and a large number of the oil and wood home heating systems.

Now maybe there is some fly in the ointment here, but I don’t see it and I sure would like to hear more about this possibility. The “stranded” natural gas in Southcentral has provided Anchorage with some of the lowest heating and electric rates in the country for many years while we in the Interior have suffered the other extreme. Why can’t we use a small portion of the “stranded” natural gas on the North Slope to help Fairbanks and the Interior? I would like to hear why this idea won’t work.

Karl Hough


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