Just hours before President Obama touched down in the Alaskan city, the Seward City Council voted 7-0 to move forward with the first part of the creation of a downtown renewable heating district. Heat from Resurrection Bay tides will be used, according to the Alaska Dispatch News.
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 system is modeled on one in use at the Alaska SeaLife Center. The idea is that cool air absorbed from in the bay and 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.