On Friday, January 30th, 2015, DCC submitted comments to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on a request for a Preliminary Permit for a 4.2 Megawatt hydroelectric project on the Jack River, near Cantwell, Alaska, in the southern part of the Denali Borough. The site is approximately 12 miles from the closest boundary of Denali National Park, and three miles south of the Denali Highway. The dam is proposed to be 250 high, and the reservoir, according to maps included in the permit, would be five miles long, stretching up into the Talkeetna Mountains.
The FERC Preliminary Permit is not a permit to build, but to study the concept. Preliminary FERC permits are usually granted, unless there are major land management conflicts. Studies are expected to take around 3 years and cost 1-2 million dollars. Exact method of financing in the permit application is vague. Some of these projects can use grant and incentive funding to pay for part of the costs.
The company filing this permit application is Yetadene Na, LLC, a private corporation formed by Gordon Carlson of Cantwell, Alaska in November 2014. The potential builder is Northwest Power Services, Inc. Both companies give their address as PO Box 872316, Wasilla, Alaska 99687. The applicant has filed for Preliminary Permits for two additional dam projects, one on Carlo Creek and the other on Brushkasna Creek, both of which flow into the Nenana River in the Alaska Range, a few miles north. DCC has grave concerns on the impacts of the Carlo Creek and Brushnasna projects, and will be submitting comments on their Preliminary Permits soon.
In our comments on the Jack River Preliminary Permit application, DCC has asked for additional studies and has expressed concern around environmental impacts and the costs vs. the benefits of this project. We are hoping that the applicants will hold local meetings to describe the projects in greater detail, and we are working toward that goal.
Read our comments below.