Alaska Power touts plan to ship renewable energy into Canada

In a move aimed at expanding the market for Southeast Alaska’s hydroelectric resources, Alaska Power & Telephone (AP&T) subsidiary Soule Hydro LLC has applied for a Presidential permit to construct and operate the first transmission line delivering Alaska-based renewable energy into Canada.

“By working closely with regional business, industry partners and research organizations such as the Alaska Center for Energy and Power, AP&T shares a larger vision of what is possible for the future of Alaska’s vast stranded renewable energy resources,” said Robert Grimm, President of AP&T, in an Aug. 19 statement. “We are convinced the development of a new renewable energy industry, coupled with a resurgence of Alaska’s timber, mineral, fisheries and petroleum market segments, will greatly benefit those in need of these resources, while creating economic well-being for Alaskans.”

On March 18, Soule Hydro filed an application with the Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for a Presidential Permit to allow for the construction of international electrical transmission facilities between the U.S. and a foreign country.

Soule Hydro proposes to construct and operate a high-voltage alternating current (HVAC) hydroelectric transmission line that is to originate at the Soule River, on Portland Canal in Southeast Alaska, and continue to the BC Hydro Stewart Substation on the north side of Stewart, B.C. It would be capable of transmitting up to 77.4 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 before crossing the U.S.-Canada border off the community of Hyder, Alaska, where it would extend another two miles. The transmission line would eventually transition to overhead and terminate at the BC Hydro Stewart Substation approximately 2.5 miles from the cable landing. The approximately 8-mile-long portion of the project located within the United States as well as the approximately 4.5 miles of transmission infrastructure in Canada would be owned and operated by Soule Hydro.

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 Hydrohad filed 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 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.