We Live Here Too

Sweetheart Lake was the concept and vision of some Juneau investors and Duff Mitchell, who have lived here for a good portion of their lives. The project has been funded with local investment and local money dedicated to a philosophy of doing hydropower…right. Our investors live where you live. They have raised, and continue to raise their families here. What is important to you and our Juneau community is also important to them. They share the same local community values that you do and they realize that if Juneau is to thrive into the future – it needs to grow in a sustainable and cost effective manner. Juneau It will need energy and innovative technology to transform our community to electrical transportation, high efficiency heat pumps and energy to drive our industry and services in a sustainable and renewable manner.

The Sweetheart Lake Project represents several benefits for Juneau in terms of our community sustainability, our overall environmental impact, and our economy.

When Juneau Hydropower first filed for a FERC license in 2009, not even one commercially available electric vehicle was on our streets. Did you know that as of August 2020 there are approximately 450 Plug in electric vehicles in Juneau with one or two additional electric vehicles growing Juneau’s EV fleet every week? The number of electric vehicles in Juneau has nearly doubled in only a year. Juneau now represents one of the fastest growing per capita population of electric vehicles versus anywhere else in the US. This should not surprise anyone since Juneau already has one of the highest per capita ownership of hybrid vehicle ownership. The advent and adoption of the electric car and electric transportation is an extension of the Juneau community value to have cost effective transportation using locally produced sustainable electricity. What do you think the future will be like?

Juneau is ideally suited to be an early adopter and advocate for electric transportation since anywhere you might want to go is well within the limits of a daily charge. Simply put, Juneau does not have “range anxiety” because the current level of battery technology combined with convenient charging stations around Juneau, make owning an electric vehicle a cost effective and sustainable choice for local transportation.

Sweetheart Lake will lower the cost of mineral production in Southeast Alaska and could extend the useful life of Juneau’s mining operations.  For example, the Kensington mine is the second largest private employer in Juneau. The Sweetheart Lake Hydroelectric Facility provides security for Juneau’s industry and business sectors by providing stable and reliable generation immune to fossil fuel price volatility.  Purchasing hydropower generation vs. fossil fuel generation makes sense because hydropower energy dollars recirculate in our Juneau economy rather than exporting these energy dollars to other locations.

Sweetheart Lake- Juneau Jobs When Juneau Needs it Most

The State of Alaska is impacted by the lower cost of oil. The lower value for our North Slope oil has wreaked havoc on State of Alaska operational and capital budgets. The discontinuance or reduction of State dollars is impacting our local schools and borough governments.  Juneau has already seen layoffs and governmental employment reductions. Juneau Hydropower and its district heating operations represent Jobs for Juneau and will provide short and long term construction activity for Juneau when Juneau needs it the most…now.

Sweetheart Lake – A Win for Juneau’s Energy Independence

Juneau will be the first community in the United States to commission a high temperature seawater heat pump district heating system. Emerson Climate Technologies, a company of the Emerson (NYSE: EMR) $22.3B in 2015 sales is the technology partner for Juneau Hydropower and Juneau District Heating.

Aside from supplying home grown low cost electrical hydropower that Juneau can power the transformation of Juneau’s future of low cost district heating. Juneau Hydropower’s subsidiary, Juneau District Heating will draws latent heat from the Gastineau channel and distributes around Juneau in an insulated pipe system providing government, businesses and residences lower cost heating to displace fossil fuel use essentially forever. The Emerson seawater heat pump system is extremely efficient with a coefficient of performance greater than 3. This means that for every 1 kWh invested into the operation, 3 kWh worth of heat is generated making it one of the highest heating efficiency systems technologically feasible today.

This system eliminates the need to burn fossil fuels and will help Juneau meet and beat its Climate Action goals specified in the Juneau Climate Action and Implementation Plan.

The Sweetheart Lake Hydroelectric Facility and the Juneau Heating District represent the leading edge of technology to provide self-reliant, sustainable energy independence for Juneau. Comparatively, fossil fuels must be refined, processed and transported by barge to Juneau.  In an increasingly volatile world, energy security is becoming an ever more important local topic.  Even if the rest of the world goes dark and shipping systems interrupted, Sweetheart Lake and Juneau District Heating will allow Juneau to be self-reliant and self-sufficient in our ability to heat our homes, keep our lights on and operate electrical transportation.

Due to Juneau’s isolated grid, we have no option but to increase our renewable energy resources to protect our community.

Sustainable and self-sufficient local hydropower is better for our collective economy and our personal household budget.  Secure, fossil free energy families the ability to accurately budget into the future devoid of fossil fuel price volatility.  Energy security for Juneau is not merely access to energy, but access to reliable and low cost energy that can operate essentially forever.

It is our belief, and driving ambition, that the people who live in Juneau should never again have to worry about whether they can pay an unexpectedly high fuel bill versus purchasing groceries their family needs.  An electric future powered by our abundant rainfall and the warmth of our oceans is the right energy choice for us all today and for future generations of Juneau citizens.