When we looked at this project in the past, it didn’t make economic sense. Now, with fuel prices so high, it is has become an economic possibility; however, there are a couple of key logistical reasons why GVEA has not pursued it more vigorously.
First, the construction of a plant and more than 500 miles of power line from the North Slope to Fairbanks would be a huge capital cost. Second, who’s to say we would always get power from that plant? What would happen if the line went down or the plant tripped? Reliability at 40 below is a big deal. In order to maintain reliability, GVEA would have to maintain local generation in the Fairbanks area just in case – and this would not cheap considering we would have to pay for the upkeep and personnel to staff it.
Right now, there are other options that make more sense economically and provide more reliable power – see GVEA’s three-step plan.
On a side note, we don’t believe gas that gas is being wastefully flared at the North Slope. There is no free product up there – just like anywhere else; we would have to pay for it.