Blogs by Rep Bob Lynn

Blog site of Representative Bob Lynn, Alaska House of Representatives,District 31 Anchorage, Alaska. Blogs consist of public comments during legislative sessions, speeches, political commentary, as well as personal observations, and some journal type entries. Comments are invited.

Location: Anchorage, Alaska, United States

Member of the Alaska State House of Represeentatives since 2003. US Air Force, Retired; military bandsman; F94C interceptor pilot; Vietnam service as radar controller (Monkey Mountain), radar site commander(Pleiku); Government Contract Management; Public school Teacher, Retired. Married 55 years to Marlene Wagner Lynn, 6 children, 20 grandchildren, 1 great-grandchild. Member St. Elizabeth Ann Seaton Church. Former Tucson Arizona policeman, Ambulance Driver and Mortician's Assistant, Realtor (currently on referral status).

Wednesday, July 13, 2005


Forty -one years ago in the US Air Force, I was scheduled for a remote tour on Fire Island with the 626th Aircraft Control & Warning Squadron (AC&W), radio call sign “Slugger.” Upon arrival at Elmendorf AFB (ten days after the Good Friday 1964 earthquake), my assignment was changed to the AC&W radar at site at Kotzebue as Operations Officer. So I never set foot on Fire Island, three miles west of Anchorage - until this July!

The old radar site on Fire Island was deactivated and demolished in 1979, but activity on Fire Island may be coming back to life with a state-of-the-art electrical generating windmills. Chugach Electric began studies in 1998 to determine feasibility of using wind to generate power. The studies indicate Fire Island may be the best site in South Central Alaska to harvest energy from wind. .

Along with Rep. Harry Crawford, and staffers from the offices of Senator Ben Stevens and Rep. Ethan Berkowitz, I flew over to Fire Island for an on-site briefing and tour. Steve Gilbert, Manager of Energy Projects Development for Chugach Electric gave us an on-site briefing and tour of the island. We learned high-tech windmills could render a capacity of some 50 to 100 MW of electrical power. Wind is free, and will continue so long as the earth keeps turning. That’s why energy from wind is one of the fastest growing energy segments in the United States.

The need for natural gas to run generators to make electricity will continue, with or without the wind energy from Fire Island. We will still need gas from the proposed gas pipeline for south central Alaska’s electrical needs. At best, wind energy from Fire Island would only cut the local need for natural gas about seven percent - but it’s a very important seven percent.

Electricity from wind power and other renewable resources has a huge market potential. In addition, there is potential for using a very small portion of the wind power on the island to develop energy from hydrogen. Fire Island is also has potential for generating electricity from the very large tidal changes in Cook Inlet.

In mid-July, Alaska Congressman Don Young sponsored the Water Resources Development Act which passed on a 406 to 14 vote. Congressman Young, Chair of the US House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, included in that legislation a Causeway to Fire Island and authorized $5 Million to fund it. But like other amounts in the legislation, the money would have to be included in future appropriation bills before it could be spent. The building of the Causeway would add impetus to any development on Fire Island, including renewable energy development.]

Renewable energy from wind, tides, and hydrogen is only - repeat only - a potential adjunct to the mainstay natural resources of Alaska’s oil and gas. It's essential that ANWR be opened, and that an appropriate gas line be built.


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