Looking to the past to power the future, Seward looks at a hydro project

ANCHORAGE (KTUU) — The City of Seward is looking at creating a hydroelectric project that would be powered by water from Lowell Creek. Andy Baker from YourCleanEnergy says it could provide up to 20 percent of the power for Seward and stabilize the rates for 30 years.

He does stress that the project could still changed based on what people in Seward want.

People in Seward who Channel 2 spoke with, say they are willing to hear ideas that could lower their bills and have fewer environmental impacts.

"It would be sweet, I would be jumping for joy if my bill was lowered by 20 percent," Seward resident Meranda Nelson said.

It's expected to cost $16 million to design and build with some of that money coming from grants, state money and the feds.

The basic concept, according to Baker, is to divert the flow from the upper canyon down a 7,200 foot long penstock — a big tube — to a five-jet vertical shaft.

Baker says decisions will have to be made about the noise level that could be produced down by a nearby campground.

He says the bigger story is that people in Seward would be evaluating the possibility of making hydro power similar to what was done from 1905-1938.

"But with improved concepts, designs, and equipment," Baker wrote in an email. "This could stabilize and slow the rate increase of their electricity bills over time."

Baker says the system size and the project concept could change as it is reviewed by the city council, port, the electric department and the city administration as well as the people who buy power from the city owned grid in Seward.

A city review will happen Wednesday evening in Seward.

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