DOE considers power line portion of Alaska hydro project

The Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability at the U.S. Department of Energy is seeking comment on an application by Soule Hydro LLC for a Presidential permit on a transmission line from southeast Alaska into Canada.

Alaska Power & Telephone Co. (AP&T) is the parent company and sole shareholder for Soule Hydro. Soule Hydro proposes to construct and operate a high-voltage alternating current (HVAC) hydroelectric transmission line that is to originate on the Soule River, on Portland Canal in Southeast Alaska, and continue to the BC Hydro Stewart Substation on the north side of Stewart, British Columbia, said DOE in a notice to be published in the July 30 Federal Register.

The proposed Soule River Hydroelectric Project would be capable of transmitting up to 77 MW of power. The Alaska portion of the project would be an 8-mile long, 138-kV HVAC 3-phase submarine cable that would be laid on the floor of Portland Canal off the community of Hyder, Alaska, waterfront before it would cross the international boundary and extend approximately 2 miles to land at Stewart, B.C. The transmission line would eventually transition to overhead and terminate at the BC Hydro Stewart Substation approximately 2.5 miles from the cable landing.

On May 20, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission granted Soule Hydro a second preliminary permit on a 77-MW hydroelectric project in Alaska. A preliminary permit allows the applicant the right to look into developing a project without fear of a competing proposal from another party.

In September 2012, Soule Hydrofiled an application to study the feasibility of the proposed Soule River Hydroelectric Project No. 13528-001, to be located on the Soule River within the Ketchikan Recording District, near Hyder, Alaska. The project is located on U.S. Forest Service lands in the Tongass National Forest. 

The proposed project would include: a 265-foot-high, 903-foot-long main dam; a 265-foot-high, 2,024 feet-long saddle dam adjacent to the main dam;  a storage reservoir with a surface area of 1,072 acres and active storage capacity of 91,800 acre-feet; a 16-foot-diameter, 11,400-foot-long conduit tunnel; a 80-foot–wide, 160–foot-long powerhouse with three Francis-type turbine/generator units with a total installed capacity of 77 MW; and a 138-kV, 700-foot-long buried transmission line across the Soule River connecting to a 10-mile-long submarine cable across the Portland Canal and ending with a 2.5-mile-long overhead line to the point of interconnection at the existing BC Hydro substation near Stewart. The estimated annual generation of the project would be 283 gigawatt-hours.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.