Bradley hydro expansion moves forward with AEA approval

  • Open since 1991, the Bradley Lake hydropower plant 30 miles east of Homer supplies the cheapest energy on the Railbelt at about 4 cents per kilowatt hour. (Image/Alaska Energy Authority)

The Alaska Energy Authority board of directors unanimously approved a $46.4 million expansion of the Bradley Lake hydroelectric plant at its Aug. 10 meeting in Anchorage.

The board’s vote allows the AEA to move forward to pursue financing and developing the Battle Creek diversion project at the headwaters of Kachemak Bay, a move that will boost production by about 10 percent and add 37,300 megawatt hours per year to its current output. That’s equal to powering an additional 5,200 homes.

The project has received approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and is “shovel ready,” AEA Executive Director Michael Lamb told the board.

Now it is up to the energy authority to decide between five funding options. The least expensive involves New Clean Renewable Energy Bonds or NCREBs. The most expensive involve financing from the utilities for a project estimated to be complete by 2020 but will not be paid off for 30 years or more.

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