2010 AWRA Alaska Section Annual Conference

Susitna Hydroelectric - Bryan Carey, Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority (co-authors: Bob Butera/HDR Alaska Inc.)


The Susitna Hydro project has been subject to over 60 years of study and analysis, culminating in a $135 million dollar engineering study and application to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for a license to construct in 1984. At that time the project was estimated to cost $5.3 billion for 1,620 MW of generation capacity. Concerns about the ability to finance this project in conjunction with the collapse of crude oil pricing resulted in the termination of this project.

An aging railbelt energy infrastructure, higher fuel costs, potentially dwindling natural gas resources, more stringent environmental restrictions caused Susitna Hydro to be revisited.

Working with the Railbelt Integrated Resource Plan has produced a Susitna Project that would be the “right size” for the railbelt. Report recommends the pursuit of a single dam Susitna project instead of a two dam project from the 1980’s. Project would be a significant contributor to the railbelt energy needs and could easily grow as energy demand increases. Climate change is not expected to significantly affect annual energy.

Topic: Hydroelectric