- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 6, 2015

FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) - A site south of Denali National Park and Preserve is being considered for a possible dam, though an official involved with the project said it’s not yet clear if such a development is feasible.

The Native Village of Cantwell filed a preliminary permit application with federal regulators in November to explore a dam along Carlo Creek, about 13 miles south of the park entrance. The application was published in the Federal Register late last month.

Gordon Carlson, a Cantwell village official, said the community is looking for an alternative energy project to generate revenue by providing electricity to the Golden Valley Electric Association grid. The Denali-area site is one of two under consideration as a possible dam location, but the entire proposal is very preliminary, he said.

“We don’t know if the water’s there, we don’t know if the terrain is there,” he said.

While the village owns the land at the dam site, agreements would be required from other area landowners, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported (https://bit.ly/14sqIIr ).

The proposal is looking at a 10-foot-high dam that would power a 1.6-megawatt turbine. Associated infrastructure would include a roughly 12,000-foot road, powerhouse and transmission line.

Documents filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission estimates a three-year study and the licensing process will cost at least $1 million. Carlson said the village will look for grants or other funding sources to help with the early-stage costs.

What those studies turn up will determine whether a project moves forward.

Questions have been raised by some residents and business owners in the Carlo Creek area about how such a project might affect them.

Bill Madsen, who lives along Carlo Creek and until recently operated a nearby business, said the uncertainty bothers some people.

“Nobody has said anything. Nobody has approached any of the neighbors,” he said.

A 60-day comment period on the Carlo Creek application began Dec. 22

Carlson said the village also is in the early stages of reviewing a hydro project on the Jack River in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough that is considers more promising. That project is much larger and would be capable of generating an estimated 4.2 megawatts of electricity. More than 5 miles of roads would have to be built to reach to the proposed dam.


Information from: Fairbanks (Alaska) Daily News-Miner, https://www.newsminer.com

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