Committee OKs Susitna dam bill

March 22, 2011 

JUNEAU -- The Alaska Energy Authority could create a subsidiary to buy, build, own, run or finance a massive hydroelectric project under a measure approved by the Senate Resources Committee.

The bill is aimed at keeping alive efforts to pursue a dam on the Susitna river. The project, formally known as the Watana Hydroelectric Power Project, is seen as a way to help meet energy demands along the Railbelt.

It's a priority of Gov. Sean Parnell's, but it's not clear how a dam would be financed or whether it will ever be built. It's among the options being pursued as the state seeks to ensure an ample, reliable supply of energy for some of Alaska's most populous areas.

The panel's version of Senate Bill 42 now goes to the finance committee.

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