Homer Alaska - News

Story last updated at 3:18 PM on Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Martinez aims to help ensure projects lead to affordable energy



My first memory of Alaska was in 1974 as a young U.S. Marine. While waiting for my transfer flight in Anchorage Airport to my Far East duty station, I stood gazing inside a glass case at a polar bear shot that year. Frontier images ran through my mind of my family who pioneered the San Luis Valley in Colorado.

In 1980 I graduated from Albuquerque TV-I with a diploma and certificate in construction drafting technologies. I started my career in Arlington during the Texas migration boom of the early 1980s then moved back to Albuquerque, N.M., to support computer chip processors at Intel.

The 1990s' "gold being dredged in the sands of Nome" started my need to contract my services to fund fact-finding adventure trips north to seek the rural lifestyle of my past. I designed telephony systems for U.S. West and hydroelectric power stations for Pacific Power in Oregon.

I drafted electrical grid distribution lines for Puget Power and windmill electric generator substations in Washington state. In 2004, I spent a full summer in Naknek, on the slime line processing herring and salmon.

In 2006, I moved to Kasilof to purchase my home site while working in Palmer on the Raptor 22 hangar project until 2007. Recently I've been working on small projects for Tauriainen Testing and Engineering in Soldotna. Projects here on the Kenai have dwindled as the state and nation adjust to a high unemployment rate, devaluation of our dollar and stock market. This started my campaign south to Homer, opening dialogue with HEA members across the rural divide.

Not knowing what to expect, the theme was generally a constant concern of future stability of business, which includes energy costs. The electric bills at my small home are reasonable and HEA linemen have always provided amazing service to restore power during the seasonal wind storms here on the Kenai. Good job, HEA.

Future power generation is what this election is all about. My experience of power can ensure proposed endeavors will provide energy we can afford: coal, hydro, LNG, tidal, wind and wood.

Coal: Clean and abundant here in Alaska. Residual radiation is still a concern that must be addressed until used safely here.

Hydro: Is my favorite proven power source. I would like to see more of this without compromising salmon stocks.

LNG: We Alaskans should be the priority of this clean, close and inexpensive source. I was shocked when asked if I would support purchasing power from Chugach Power. My response was "We should be selling power to them." I can't promise lower future energy costs, but is it possible to use North Road LNG to send AC power across Turnagain Arm to Anchorage at a profit?

Tidal: A constant reliable source. I'm currently researching to see if it's cost effective and friendly to fish. This could be bigger than hydro.

Wind: If it wasn't for government taxing our income to subsidize this industry, would it exist? While in Washington state, I watched massive wind generators and towers offloaded from ships in Longview from China to my projects across the west.

During my trips to Nome in the 1990s, I asked what the tall poles were all about. Local residents told me of the dreams of private entrepreneurs who invested in wind with the hope to sell excess power to the local utility company, only to dismantle them after pennies on the dollar was earned after their efforts. A similar story was told by a member here during my campaign south regarding a small three windmill farm currently standing. Maybe in about 15 years with the age of Nano technologies I see this source being profitable.

Wood: Should be for personal use.

My contribution to HEA will be to continue conversing with members and report concerns to the board. Civil defense also concerns me and the board will hear my questions of preparedness from solar flares and electromagnetic pulse I believe it is within reason to ensure prompt repair if possible. In regards to contingency plans, I will report to HEA members of the security of our modern infrastructure.

In closing, it would be my honor to fly the HEA flag on my Mac Greggor 26 sailboat, so say hello while I'm sailing Kachemak Bay.

Carl P. Martinez lives in Kasilof and is a drafter and designer.