Kootznoowoo to manage Angoon hydro projects

Kootznoowoo Inc. is taking over development of two hydroelectric projects to move them along.

The City of Angoon holds federal permits for the Ruth Lake and Scenery Lake projects at Thomas Bay, north of Petersburg. Angoon has designated its village Native corporation as development manager.

“Facilitator is a good word for what I think we’re trying to do here,” says Kootznoowoo general manager Peter Naoroz. He says the corporation will help Angoon get the regional projects to license.

“They’re valuable permits and we just hate to see them languish.”

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission awarded the Ruth Lake preliminary permit to Angoon in 2009, in the first ever random drawing. The award ended up in court, when the City of Petersburg challenged the drawing method of choosing among applications submitted by Petersburg, Wrangell and Angoon. A federal district court upheld the award.

Petersburg also opposed Angoon’s Scenery Lake permit. Both projects became controversial, even in Angoon, when the city wasn’t able to keep up with regulatory reporting requirements.

Kootznoowoo is stepping into the development phase, which requires an environmental assessment and pre-engineering work. Naoroz also says the corporation will advise the city on future power sales agreements.

He’s already contacted the Southeast Alaska Power Agency, which he calls integral to the success of the Ruth and Scenery projects. He hopes Kootznoowoo and SEAPA can help facilitate discussions among the communities that opposed Angoon’s preliminary permits.

“For whatever reason there wasn’t kind of a level playing field for those discussions to take place and we’re hoping to try and create that level playing field,” Naoroz says.

SEAPA owns two hydro plants and transmission lines that serve Wrangell, Petersburg and Ketchikan. SEAPA Chief Executive Officer Dave Carlson says the organization will evaluate all the potential hydro projects in Southeast. He says a state-sponsored Integrated Resource Planning study will provide the agency direction in its goal of getting the best result for SEAPA members and ratepayers.

Naoroz admits the corporation has “selfish reasons” to help Angoon pursue its hydro permits. Kootznoowoo owns about 23,000 acres west of Ketchikan near mining exploration. He says the Ruth and Scenery projects are needed to help the mines develop.

Naoroz says the hydroelectric projects will provide affordable power to stimulate growth and job creation throughout the Southeast region.

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