Historic benefit of district heat seals decision for Alaskan city

The Alaskan city of Seward is to develop phase 1 of its downtown renewable district heating scheme after the City Council voted 7-0 to move ahead.

Heat from Resurrection Bay tides will be used, according to the Alaska Dispatch News, with the success of the Alaska SeaLife Center aquarium motivational to the decision.
Seward and Resurrection Bay
The project, which is expected to save as much as $76,000 annually, will heat the library, city hall, fire department and a city annex.

The idea is that cool air absorbed from in the bay is converted to heat. It has cut the aquarium’s electric bill in half since it became operational in 2012.

The city is using an $850,000 grant from the Alaska Energy Authority Renewable Energy Fund and is adding $85,000 in city funds.

The aquarium has had good results with the approach. In 2008, it spent $1.2 million on oil heat. That number was more than halved in 2009 using heat from the bay, according to Alaska Public Media

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