The Sweetheart Lake Facility is the catalyst for Juneau’s continued growth and prosperity. As Juneau grows, the need for power will continue to grow and outstrip current capacity. This is one problem that we can and will solve together by promoting our community values to transform our economy in a proactive and sustainable manner. Sweetheart Lake will bring many economic and environmental benefits for Juneau. At the most basic level, there will be reductions in price when compared with providing power from the burning of more expensive fossil fuels. There are also significant reductions in pollution since hydropower does not pollute, while it replaces other energy sources that do i.e. diesel oil. The Sweetheart Lake benefits listed herein, expand on the need for power and both the economic and environmental benefits as they relate specifically to our Juneau experience.

  • Lowers Green House Gas Emissions – Lowers Pollution

    As you will see woven in the narrative of every benefit for Juneau, Sweetheart Lake Hydropower is clean, renewable power that burns no fossil fuels and does not pollute. The impact is significant to our businesses and to our health.

  • Supports Juneau’s Industrial Sector Growth

    Juneau is experiencing continued growth in our industrial sector, in particular the mining community which produce more electricity from burning diesel than any other industry sector. Displacing more expensive diesel fuel for lower cost hydropower not only makes sense for Juneau employers and the jobs they create, it also makes sense for the sustainability and energy resiliency of Juneau. Lower fuel costs means lower operations costs which reduces the cost of mineral extraction providing Juneau’s mining sector employers the ability to maintain operations during periods of low mineral prices.  Lower cost energy can also potentially extend mine life where less economically viable ore bodies can now be mined with lower cost energy. Energy can make up 20-35% of the operations cost of a mine.

  • Promotes Energy Security For Juneau

    Juneau has a significant amount of electrical customers who are on interruptible agreements which means these key industries and employers can be “cut off” anytime. Why? All of Juneau deserves energy security on predictable low cost firm hydropower all the time. The lack of consistent firm power is impeding our economic growth and job creation. Additional base load diesel or any other non-renewable fuel source raises costs and economically harms the Juneau economy.

  • Supports Juneau’s Electric Vehicle Transformation

    A transformative transportation revolution is underway in the widespread adoption of electric transportation. 10 years ago there were no commercially available electrical vehicles, electrical mass transit buses and no electrical chargers in the United States. As of August 2020, there were roughly 1.6 Million electric vehicles in America. That number is expected to grow to to 4 Million by 2025. On a per capita basis, if Juneau was a State, it would rank third in the Nation on EV’s on a per capita basis. In this sense, Juneau is more advanced that the rest of the nation. Further, many cities are adopting electrical bus and mass transit transportation, especially since the US Department of Transportation has released reports that electric busses have less expensive life cycle costs than diesel busses. Juneau has been considering when and how to best migrate to electrical bus transportation for the Juneau Capital Transit system. Many thought that “clean diesel” engines might be an appropriate alternative until the Volkswagon scandal broke in 2015 dispelling the myth that high efficiency diesel engines could produce less fouling emissions. Electrifying Juneau’s transportation sector is a Juneau community value and requires hydropower resources.

  • Creates Jobs and a Higher Quality of Life For Juneau

    It is a Juneau community value shared with Juneau Hydropower that affordable and abundant electricity equals jobs and a better quality of life for Juneau. Our CBJ Comprehensive Plan, our CBJ Climate Action and Implementation Plan and our draft Energy Plan call for milestone goals to transform Juneau to a sustainable community based on energy security from local renewable energy resources. This is just plain smart because this means we create jobs and keep our Juneau energy dollars….in Juneau. Heat pumps, district heating and electrified transportation mean more investment and more jobs in Juneau.

    Abundant renewable energy that displaces fossil fuels will lead to a a higher quality of life for the citizens of Juneau. To paraphrase Jevon’s paradox – As electricity becomes abundant and cheaper its consumption will increase exponentially. Some in the utility industry worry that increased efficiency from LED lights, heat pumps, and other technologies will lower the demand for electricity. This is fossil fuel based thinking that runs counter to the Jevon’s paradox.

  • Supports District Heating For Juneau

    Heating Juneau homes and business represents 21% of Juneau’s overall energy consumption (2016 CBJ Juneau Energy Plan) (link). Juneau’s home heating needs has evolved from wood (1880-1910) to coal (1910-1930) to heating oil (1930 to present). Now Juneau has the opportunity to lead the nation in seawater district heating that uses our local waters to heat our homes and businesses with clean, renewable sustainable heat…forever. The Sweetheart Lake Hydroelectric Facility will fuel the electricity necessary to power the innovative Juneau Heating District which will extract existing heat energy from local seawater to heat the homes and businesses in Juneau. This value added renewable energy (heat) will displace the need to burn 8,488,033 gallons of diesel on an annual basis. This is transformative and will completely change how Juneau heats government, business and private dwellings. This innovative seawater heat pump technology represents a 300% efficiency in converting seawater heat into high temperature freshwater to meet the heating needs of the buildings and residences in Juneau. This will radically transform the heating paradigm not just in Juneau, but set the standard for the US by lowering the cost of heating in a way that exemplifies Juneau community values and the CBJ Climate Action Plan.

  • Supports Electric Buses for Juneau

    The Juneau commercial transportation sector can be dramatically transformed by the electrification of buses and commercial delivery vehicles. With over a million tourists a year being driven throughout Juneau combined with hundreds of thousands of tons of freight, a lot of diesel is burned. This is costly as well as a considerable source of pollution that with thinking a bit smarter, can be virtually eliminated in Juneau while simultaneously reducing costs. . For example, Proterra, a manufacturer of electric busses, recently did a reliability study in Seattle on their buses and found they could operate over a million miles without incident. This study found that an electric buses lower operation costs, substantially reduce pollution and save hundreds of thousands of dollars over the lifecycle of the vehicle. This is the reason that electric bus deliveries are back ordered by over 18 months. To date, a mass transit transformation is happening across America as US cities have begun conversion to electric busses to reduce their mass transit operational costs and to improve ridership, safety and occupational hazards for their employees. Juneau has several electric public transportation buses on order and the transformation has begun.

    In 2005, 1.1% of all buses were powered from an electric/other energy source. In 2010, 7% of buses were power by electricity. More recent numbers from 2014 show that nearly 18% of all buses in the U.S. run off of electric/other energy sources. The inevitability of electric buses and electric delivery is happening and Juneau is transforming too. Bob Janes of Gastineau Guiding placed into service the summer of 2016, the first electric bus in Alaska. Our Juneau Capital Transit will save hundreds of thousands of dollars while making our Capital Transit system more sustainable and cost effective too.

  • Supports Juneau Dock Electrification

    Juneau was the first community in America to electrify one of their docks to allow cruise ships to avoid burning diesel while in port. Juneau has a stated community value to electrify the remaining cruise ship docks with reliable hydropower. Cleaner air and less vibration downtown leads to a higher quality of life for downtown residents and merchants, but also leads to more pleasurable visitor experience. Electrification of the docks not only lowers the operating costs of the cruise lines but also leaves valuable energy dollars and jobs in our community.