Juneau District Heating Vision

Juneau District Heating was first envisioned in 2012 by the founders and business associates of Juneau Hydropower. The Sweetheart Lake facility solved a lot of energy security problems for Juneau including making power available to interruptible customers like mine operations, allowing them to move off of diesel to a more reliable and environmentally friendly source of electricity. It also adds security because it is not susceptible to avalanche outages from the Snettisham avalanche hazard zone and it is 100% renewable hydropower. Sweetheart Lake also is the impetus for Juneau’s sustainable future by adding additional energy for industrial customers, supporting growth in electrical transportation, and making it possible to convert and transform fossil fuel based heating to sustainable, reliable renewable energy.  The idea for a district heating system modeled after the successful implementation in Norway was made possible because a supply of renewable electricity would be available to make the dream of low cost reliable heat for Juneau’s businesses and residences a reality.

Juneau District Heating is a natural evolution of Juneau’s community values to provide low cost and sustainable heat for Juneau indefinitely. Juneau District Heating positions Juneau as a renewable energy technology leader in producing the first seawater heat pump district heating system in North America.

All of the project development has been funded by local Juneau investors who have repeatedly rejected available federal and state grants and other forms of corporate welfare (perhaps we were ahead of our time on this aspect as well). Because of our localized development and market based investment approach, from people who live and work here in Juneau, Juneau District Heating will serve our citizens and build upon our community values to maintain Juneau as a great place to do business, find a good job, and raise a family. It also builds on Juneau’s vision for energy sustainability well into the future.

Duff Mitchell, Managing Director

Having grown up in downtown Juneau and raising children, and now grandchildren in Juneau, Duff understands Juneau’s community values. He has over 25 years of experience analyzing, developing and building businesses from varied industries in Southeast Alaska, including seafood, timber, telecommunications, mining services and hydropower. Duff has worked on innovations in many business sectors having developed, patented and trademarked value-added salmon products and spent his work career creating jobs, improving the economic future for Alaskans while striving for the right environmental balance.

Duff is a retired Lieutenant Colonel of the U.S. Army National Guard, initially beginning his military career as a private and attending many military schools including the Army Airborne school. He served nearly three decades in command positions as an engineer and infantry commander in operations, logistic and administrative positions. Duff also served a tour overseas during Operation Iraqi Freedom, and is a graduate of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College.

Duff has a BBA and MBA and served for over 20 years as a board member on the City & Borough of Juneau’s (CBJ) Fisheries Development Board and currently serves as a Commissioner on the CBJ’s Juneau Commission on Sustainability. He currently serves as Executive Director of the Alaska Independent Power Producers Association representing the cutting edge renewable energy developers of Alaska. Duff helped found the Juneau Electric Vehicle Association and has been instrumental in positioning Juneau as a leading community transforming to electrical transportation. He is married to Catrina and together they have 3 children and four grandchildren, all of whom live in Juneau.