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Interior Gas Utility opens natural gas storage facility in North Pole

Published: Feb. 25, 2021 at 4:11 PM AKST
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - On Thursday, February 25th, the Interior Gas Utility (IGU) celebrated the opening of a natural gas storage site in North Pole.

North Pole Mayor Mike Welch joined Borough Mayor Bryce Ward, Greater Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Jinnel Choiniere, and employees from the IGU to recognize the occasion.

The opening of the storage facility inaugurates the newest phase of natural gas expansion in the Alaskan interior.

According to IGU General Manager Dan Britton, “Natural gas brings a much cleaner energy source to customers in the community. It’ll help improve the air quality throughout the community and reduce emissions, and hopefully [create] a better quality of life for all.”

The 150,000 gallon storage tanks, sitting just off of the Old Richardson Highway, were moved to their current location in July of 2020. Welch explained, “When we need natural gas, we have it here. We’re not dependent on the one that comes all the way off of Peger Road to get gas out here for our customers.”

Their opening represents the culmination of years of planning and, according to Britton, one and a half years of construction. “It’s taken the mayors, the assemblies, the city councils, [and] took the support of the state of Alaska and our legislature in providing some funding,” he said.

Welch explained that the energy being produced by natural gas will be cheaper than what’s currently available, saying, “Some of the big box stores that would not have located here yesteryear will now have a reason to, because when they say ‘the numbers don’t crunch,’ they mean it would cost too much to come in and put a big box store in.”

Around 70 miles of pressurized distribution pipes for natural gas have already been installed around the city, according to an IGU press release.

North Pole customers can now apply to switch over their energy source, and at least one resident is ready for the change saying, “I’m a customer that’s been waiting for that gas for years, and so the fact that it’s actually here, is in some ways, doesn’t feel real.”

The borough also runs a program which helps residents change out their wood stoves for natural gas energy.

Those looking to switch their energy to natural gas can contact the IGU at (907) 452-7111 or visit interiorgas.com.

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