In a nutshell
- The Susitna River, one of America’s last great wild rivers, falls from the glacial Mt. McKinley Alaska Range.
- The Susitna Dam, in the middle of that wilderness, would be, if built, the 2nd tallest of 80,000 dams in America, with massive impacts on the entire ecosystem including the river’s five species of salmon, caribou migration routes, and tourist-related businesses.
- The vast valley that the Susitna River drains– 100 miles by 50 miles– is the most visited area of Alaska, the heart of what the world knows as Alaska: great mountains, deep forests, open tundra, small communities with rich heritages.
- From 2005 through 2008 there have been 132 dam failures in America. The Susitna Dam site is only 40 miles from a major fault that recorded a 7.9 quake in 2002.
- The dam’s cost of at least 5-6 billion dollars, the largest state-funded project in Alaska history, is greater than the entire annual Alaska State Capital Budget.
- The dam has only one purpose: electricity. It would generate 280-300 megawatts average annually; the Grand Coulee dam, for reference, generates 2,500-3,000 megawatts average annually.
- Electricity to the consumer will not be any cheaper than what we already have.
- Natural gas already provides most of the electricity as well as heat to the area the dam would serve; there is enough readily available natural gas for at least a hundred more years. Natural gas is absolutely necessary to continue developing for heat.
- The area the dam’s electricity would serve has the planet’s second greatest tides that alone could produce 125,000 megawatts of electricity within 20 or 30 years as tidal technology improves, plus vast geothermal reserves already in exploration.
- Just a basic energy efficiency program in the dam’s region would save almost half as much electricity as the dam would generate.
- Bottom line: The dam will not reduce the cost of electricity. It will not answer critical heating needs. Its destructive impacts would be unimaginably worse than continuing to use natural gas while wind, geothermal, and tidal sources come increasingly online.
The Coalition’s very detailed comments about this project, submitted to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (the agency that will decide whether or not to allow the dam to be built) can be viewed by clicking here.
The Coalition for Susitna Dam Alternatives’ mission is to bring awareness of alternatives to the proposed Susitna Dam through collaboration, education and advocacy. The focus of that work is to help establish sustaining sources of electricity that cumulatively will produce more energy than the Susitna Dam at far less cost with none of the catastrophic risks.
(next page: Dam Issues)
email: email@example.com phone: 907 733 5400