Homer Alaska - Letters

Story last updated at 5:58 PM on Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Shortfall of natural gas? Good grief, nobody has mentioned a shortfall

Homer is a beautiful place. Like many others, I came here for a visit and never left. That was 30-plus years ago.

Back in those days there were discussions about bringing natural gas to the area, but most agreed that this was something that could only happen in the distant future. Well, here we are in that future and the possibility of actually having gas available seems to be within reach.

The suggested savings that could be realized by using this fuel to heat not only our homes but our schools and municipal structures makes for a very appealing argument. I know that the city has our best interest in mind by attempting to develop this project and I applaud all those who have worked hard at the task of gathering the information needed in order for us to make informed decisions. I will admit that it does sounds like something we should pursue for economic reasons.

However I am concerned that this project has gained a certain amount of momentum which now seems to be driving the project in order to justify the time and effort expended to date. I wonder if anyone is looking at the big picture.

Two articles printed in the Anchorage Daily News on Oct. 21 give a rather bleak picture about the supply of natural gas available in the Southcentral area. According to these articles, studies that have been completed by Petrochemical Resources of Alaska for a number of utilities including Enstar Natural Gas, Chugach Electric as well as Municipal Light and Power show that a serious shortfall of gas supplies could occur as soon as 2015. If these facts are true, we should seriously consider if development of Homers proposed gas project at this point in time makes economic sense.

What would be the consequences of spending the money to build the distribution system, as well as the cost required of individuals buying into the system, if in three years there may not be enough gas available to justify the investment? Truly the law of supply and demand would kick-in and the cost of natural gas would soar.

Apparently this situation is so serious that the above referenced utilities have only been able to contract for half of the gas they need in 2015. This is scary stuff if we the citizens of this wonderful hamlet are looking at supplying the money for Enstar to build the needed infrastructure.

The city has a task force working on this project. It would be prudent for this task force to further investigate present and future supplies of natural gas before we proceed. We may not know the rest of the story and may be jumping the gun. I urge the residents of Homer to be informed regarding this project and encourage you to input on this situation to our elected Homer City Council members.

Fortunately here in Homer, you do have a voice on this issue.

Franco Venuti