Capital budget shows some love to energy projects

CCHRC is testing how to maximize energy from the EconoBurn, to the right

Energy projects fared fairly well in the nearly $4 billion capital budget passed by the Alaska Legislature earlier this month.

“We owe the Interior delegation some thanks. It was a joint effort on the Senate side and the House side,” said John Davies, energy policy specialist at CCHRC.

CCHRC got $180,000 for infrastructure to support a $2 million addition to the building that is currently in design; and $61,600 to develop and study a wood-fired boiler and thermal storage system. Researchers are testing how much they can conserve firewood and curb particulate pollution by transferring extra heat from the boiler to a 1,400-gallon water tank to use for heating.

Additionally, the Alaska Housing Finance Corp. was granted $126 million to extend the very popular weatherization and home energy rebate programs started in 2008.

Other important statewide energy projects received funding, including $10 million for Golden Valley’s Eva Creek Wind Farm, $2 million for a tidal power project in Cook Inlet, $65 million for the Susitna hydroelectric project and nearly $2 million for a geothermal project at Mt. Spurr (in Cook Inlet).

The capital budget still needs to be approved by Gov. Sean Parnell.