Clean Energy in Alaska
The scarcity and rising cost of natural gas is driving Alaska's utilities to seek other sources of power generation. The investments that utilities make in the near future will define the nature of our power grid for generations to come. Renewable sources of energy can now be cost-effectively added to the grid, providing an opportunity to increase energy independence, decrease costs, and protect the environment.
We must continue working to convince power producers, legislators, and Alaska energy consumers to seize this opportunity.
The Railbelt energy grid (Homer to Fairbanks) needs to generate about 725 megawatts (MW) of new capacity over the next 30 years to meet load growth and replace existing capacity that is aging. Alaska has an opportunity to become a renewable energy leader by meeting that demand as much as possible with the use of modern, clean and renewable technologies at less cost to the consumer.
The first step toward realizing that opportunity was the development of a credible vision for the energy grid that features energy efficiency measures and renewable energy sources (214Kb pdf). We propose a campaign to achieve a sustainable energy supply for Alaska over the next two decades. Powering Alaska's grid with a careful mixture of renewable and traditional sources of power and controlling demand through energy conservation measures will promote energy independence, security, and confront global warming in a cost-effective manner.
The Alaska Energy Authority and Cold Climate Housing Research Center have published detailed recommendations for improving energy efficiency statewide, including setting a goal to reduce energy consumption in public buildings by 20% and enacting residential and commercial building codes. Read the Alaska Energy Efficiency Program and Policy Recommendations.