- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 2, 2015

SEWARD, Alaska (AP) - The Kenai Peninsula city of Seward has voted to move away from heating oil and create a renewable energy heating district.

The Seward City Council voted Monday to move forward with a project to heat four city buildings using heat from Resurrection Bay tides, according to the Alaska Dispatch News (https://bit.ly/1JB1mrq).

The proposed system would use a series of heat loops that would absorb energy from sea water moving through gravel 200 to 300 feet below the city’s waterfront.

Andy Baker, an Anchorage-based renewable energy consultant with his own company, YourCleanEnergy, said if built, the system would be the farthest-north ground source heat pump in the country.

The project has been around for years, especially after the Alaska SeaLife Center, an aquarium and marine mammal rehabilitation facility, successfully implemented a similar system to heat the entire building in 2012.

“This process in Seward has been very steady, slow-moving, but steady, and always going forward,” Baker said Tuesday. “And that’s a good model for a lot of these towns.”

The council has agreed to apply for an $850,000 Alaska Energy Authority Renewables Energy Fund grant and allocated $85,000 in city general funds to make the grant competitive.

Assistant city manager Ron Long estimates heating the library, city hall, a city annex and fire department with renewable energy will save the city up to $76,000 annually.

With President Barack Obama’s visit to the city just hours after the council passed the decision, Long said he wished he could highlight Seward’s progress toward renewable energy and fighting climate change even further.

“I really wish I had an opportunity to say, ‘Look what our city council did last night!’” he said. “But I can see how it’s not possible that I would be able to have lunch with the president.”

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Information from: Alaska Dispatch News, https://www.adn.com


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