Senate panel gets update on dam project

Feb 19, 2013 -- 10:00am


-  JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - Officials behind a proposed massive dam in Alaska say the project could provide stable electricity rates for a century. The Alaska Energy Authority provided a special Senate committee with an update on the Susitna-Watana hydro project Tuesday. The 735-foot dam would be located between Anchorage and Fairbanks and stand as one of the largest dams built in the U.S. in decades. The agency said the project would meet about half the energy demand of Alaska's most populous region. Capital costs are estimated at $5.2 billion though that's expected to be refined. Financing remains unclear. Plans call for a licensing decision in 2017 and seven years of construction. Critics fear the dam could hurt salmon and say it's economically unjustifiable to pursue it and a gas line, another potentially multibillion-dollar project.

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