Washington, D.C. – Today, the House of Representatives overwhelming passed Alaska Congressman Don Young’s legislation to authorize and streamline the expansion of the Terror Lake hydroelectric project on Kodiak, Island. The bill’s 424 to 1 passage represents a key bipartisanship endorsement for future hydroelectric projects in Alaska and across the nation.
Rep. Young Speaking in Favor of H.R. 220, the Terror Lake Hydro Project Expansion Act (click here to watch)
“Kodiak Island is roughly the size of New Jersey. This means it’s reliant upon electrical generation on the island – primarily hydro at this time and some imported diesel fuel. With the growing electrical demands of the residents on Kodiak, the Kodiak Electric Association will not be able to meet their needs without acquiring additional resources or they will be forced back to the use of diesel,” said Congressman Don Young. “There’s no reason why a hydro-rich community like Kodiak should ever have to rely on diesel fuel for power generation. They wish to expand their operations by increasing their water resources and I agree.”
H.R. 220, introduced by Congressman Young on the first day of the 115th Congress, seeks to expedite the expansion of the Kodiak Electric Association (KEA) hydroelectric project at Terror Lake. The legislation would allow KEA to use no more than twenty acres of federal land within the Kodiak Island National Wildlife Refuge to construct, operate, and maintain the proposed Upper Hidden Basin Diversion Expansion – which would increase water resources at Terror Lake by 25% – without a need for further authorization from the Secretary of the Interior or under the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA). The KEA project would result in an additional 33,000 megawatt-hours of generation each year for the Island’s residents.
“My legislation allows for the Kodiak Electric Company to divert small flows of additional water from the Upper Hidden Basin into Terror Lake by digging a 1.2 mile underground tunnel…The issue at hand is the tunnel would need to go through the Kodiak Island National Wildlife Refuge, which is federal land, to State lands to where the water diversion would be located… ,” said Congressman Young. “Alaska has tremendous hydroelectric potential and I look forward to moving additional commonsense reforms to provide our rural and remote communities with new opportunities to obtain reliable and affordable hydropower. Mr. Chairman, may I say that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife supports this. There is no objection to it. It’s a solution waiting to happen. So we’re going to dig a tunnel; it’s really about a tunnel.”
H.R. 220 seeks to expedite the expansion of the Terror Lake Hydroproject in light of rising costs and a limited construction season. According to KEA, delaying construction by just one year would incur $11 million in additional project costs, which includes $1.3 million in costs associated with future supplemental diesel generation that will be required to meet electricity demand – costs that would be borne by the Island’s ratepayers, including the U.S. Coast Guard.
The House Natural Resources Committee unanimously approved H.R. 220 on April 27, 2017. The Subcommittee on Water, Power and Oceans met to review the legislation on April 4, 2017. The hearing included testimony from Kodiak Electric Associate President and CEO Darren Scott.
For detailed background on H.R. 220, please click here.