Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Recent News

Hello Net Metering, Goodbye SNAP
Given the recent passage by the RCA of net metering regulations for Alaska, HEA Directors voted at Tuesday's Board meeting to phase out the SNAP program and prepare to accommodate members wanting to enjoy the greater benefits of net metering.

Bad News
HEA's base rate will increase six percent (6%) in April. This could go up another two percent (2%) by early summer. Yes, present low electric rates ARE too good to be true.

Kenai Hydro Slows to a Trickle
HEA is now on it's own with respect to the controversial small hydroelectric projects proposed for the Cooper Landing/Moose Pass area. Partners Cook Inlet Region, Inc. and EnXco have formally withdrawn from the effort. At present, only the Grant Lake component of the project seems to have survived and most study activity for that is on hold while HEA looks for new grant money.

RCA Spooked
On January 28 the RCA dismissed a petition by Cook Inlet Natural Gas Storage, LLC. The company wanted authorization to move ahead with plans for a project to store natural gas on the Kenai Peninsula to supplement high demand during winter cold spells. Commissioners decided they lacked statutory authority to regulate such, and directed proponents of the plan to the Legislature and Supreme Court instead. The storage facility is seen by utilities as vital to maintaining necessary gas and electric supplies to Kenai Peninsula consumers and business (that's us).

High Wattage Independent Light
HEA General Manager Brad Janorschki is quoted in a Feb. 7 Peninsula Clarion story as saying, "...turbines typically cost $1,400 to $1,800 a kilowatt, but that doesn't necessarily take into account the cost of installation." Those figures translate into $1.4 to $1.8 million per megawatt (MW). If we do the whole project it will add another 110 to 112 MW in generating capacity. That will cost us between $154 and $201 million for all the turbines. As Brad says, installation could cost extra. Either way, the price certainly doesn't include ongoing salaries and benefits for those 20 new high-end jobs.

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