Homer Electric Association has been approved for permits to look into the feasibility of partnering with renewable energy company Wind Energy Alaska to bring low impact hydroelectric projects to the Kenai Peninsula.Four sites are being evaluated. They are located in the Moose Pass/Seward area, Ptarmigan Lake, Falls Creek and Grant Lake.
"We're very excited to be moving forward with the project," said Joe Gallagher, HEA's public relations coordinator.
HEA has three years to evaluate the potential engineering, economic and environmental impact of the project on each site. Moving forward will depend on what each study reveals.
Each site is estimated to have a potential of producing five megawatts of power. According to Gallagher, HEA's total peak load for the peninsula is about 90 megawatts.
The project would produce electricity by using a stream's natural drop in elevation and diverting the water through a duct or pipe to generate electricity, said HEA's Melissa Carlin.
"The whole idea is to keep the impact (on the environment) as small as possible," said Steve Gilbert, manager of Alaska projects for enXco, a renewable energy company that co-owns Wind Energy Alaska.
The Friends of Cooper Landing, a nonprofit organization, is opposed to HEA's Crescent Lake project out of concerns for the area's Dolly Varden and grayling fisheries, as well as impacts on surrounding black bear and moose habitat.