Continued Support for the Mahoney Lake Hydropower Project
August 6, 2015
The purpose of this letter is to express the Greater Ketchikan Chamber of Commerce’s support for S.1585: “A bill to authorize the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to issue an order continuing a stay of a hydroelectric license for the Mahoney Lake hydroelectric project in the State of Alaska.”
The Ketchikan Chamber advocates on behalf of over 200 businesses within the Ketchikan region representative of a diverse variety of sectors including the marine, mining, tourism, retail, energy, healthcare, and construction industries.
Access to affordable renewable energy is of the utmost importance to both our members and the greater Ketchikan region, and it is essential for supporting growth in Ketchikan’s energy-intensive industry sectors, particular mining and maritime. The Mahoney Lake hydropower project is a unique opportunity for our region as it has already received its federal FERC license through four million dollars of private investment expended by its developers: the City of Saxman, Cape Fox Corporation, and Alaska Power & Telephone company.
S. 1585 provides additional timing flexibility needed so that the Mahoney project can be developed in a financially feasible manner that coincides with the region’s growing energy needs. This additional timing flexibility is of tremendous economic value to the businesses and families living in our region. S. 1585 also helps prevent the Mahoney Lake project’s license from expiring; expiration would result in a loss of over four million dollars of private investment in our region’s economic future and would require an entity to repeat the licensing process, which would likely take more than nine years and cost four million dollars in additional, new expenditures.
The Ketchikan Chamber has previously provided formal support for development of the Mahoney Lake hydropower project, as documented in our 2011 letter (attached), and continues to be supportive of this project. That being said, we appreciate and strongly support the following sentiment expressed in your sponsor statement: “This legislation will not advantage Mahoney Lake over any other project that may be considered to provide low-cost hydroelectric power to the region. But its timely passage will level the playing field so that Mahoney Lake can be considered on the same economic grounds as all other future power projects in southern Southeast Alaska.” The Ketchikan Chamber supports use of a competitive, level playing field which selects future energy projects based on common, measurable economic criteria.
Thank you for your support of the Mahoney Lake project through the introduction of S. 1585.
Chelsea Goucher, Executive Director
Greater Ketchikan Chamber of Commerce
P: (907) 225-3184
C: (907) 220-2133