There is an old thread about this here: http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/...y-it-isn-t-so?
I attended a meeting in Moose Pass this evening hosted by HEA/Kenai Hydro, where they shared the results of their environmental studies and outlined their design plans for a hydroelectric project on Grant Creek. Long story short they are preparing a FERC application that will be ready for submission around the end of February 2015. Then there will be a 90 day public comment period where concerned parties can get on the public record. According to the guy responsible for creating the permitting application, it would take 9 months to over a year for FERC to decide.
Tons of info is here: http://www.kenaihydro.com/
I appreciate the amount of effort that went into studying this watershed and the potential environmental impacts. The guys who did the work were all knowledgeable people. Unfortunately what looks good on paper isn't always going to pan out in practice, and the impression I was left with after the three hour meeting was that these Kenai Hydro guys were doing a good job of just covering all their bases so they look good on a FERC application. The reality is that there is very little room left for public comment now, and these guys seemed to want to minimize any opportunity for further public comment on the project.
I am against this project for several reasons. I spend a lot of time hiking, skiing and fishing in this area and enjoy it very much the way that it is. Also, I do not trust in their ability to mitigate impacts on salmon. I felt like they glossed over some important stuff, like ensuring that the water temperature in the creek allows for healthy egg incubation while operating at higher than normal flows in the winter months. Lastly, I think it is a poor choice economically. The plant will generate 4% of the electricity that Homer Electric sells each year. The projected cost is now upwards of 55 million (started out much less, I think around 40 million...), and will not see a ROI for 34 years. This all came from them this evening during the Q&A session.
Another factor in all this is the fact that I as a resident of Seward will not see any of the benefits of this project in my electric bill. But with the plant producing such a small fraction of my energy consumption I probably would not notice the savings anyway. Even if it was my hydro plant I still wouldn't go for it.
I am hoping that the members of the Homer electric cooperative who read this message board feel the same way- that 4% of your annual power usage is not worth a 50 million dollar hydro plant in the headwaters of the Kenai River. Please contact the board of directors and urge them to give this project up! One email with everyone on the board cc'd would take 5-10 minutes of your time. I plan on voicing my opinion, but I think it is critical that HEA members voice their opposition.
HEA board contact info here:
While the public comment period during the FERC application process would allow one to express opposition to this project, I think a more direct and local solution is to first try to convince the HEA board to pull out of this project. Word is that the board voted on proceeding with Grant Creek some time back and it narrowly passed with a 5-4 vote.
Thanks for reading this. I don't get on here to post much, but I look forward to this discussion.