Renewable Energy in Alaska

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Renewable Energy in Alaska ( renewable-energy-alaska )

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Renewable Energy in Alaska David Coil, PhD, Director1, Erin McKittrick, M.S., Director2, Bretwood "Hig" Last Modified: 22nd May 2014 Higman, PhD, Executive Director3 contact@groundtruthtrekking.org Renewable Energy Articles Geothermal Augustine Geothermal Spurr Geothermal Wind Eva Creek Wind Fire Island Wind Hydroelectricity Chakachamna Hydro Chikuminuk Hydro Kogoluktuk Hydro Susitna-Watana Hydro Seismic Hazards at Susitna Other Tidal Power in Cook Inlet Yakutat Wave Energy Alaska is rich in renewable energy resources. Nearly a quarter of Alaska's energy is currently supplied by hydropower, small scale wind farms have been built in numerous villages, and two utility-scale wind projects were under construction in 2012. There is growing interest in developing the state's potential renewable resources, including wind, hydro, geothermal, tidal, wave, biomass/biofuels, and solar energy. With a relatively small population (hence lower energy needs), and a wide array of potential energy sources, Alaska is well-positioned to transition to renewable energy sources. Currently, most of Alaska's electricity comes from natural gas, followed by hydropower, with smaller components from coal, oil, and other renewable sources. Of these, coal is the most polluting. Energy generation (both renewable and fossil-fuel-based) presents a number of unique challenges in Alaska. The largest electricity grid in the state covers the "Railbelt", which runs from Fairbanks to the tip of the Kenai Peninsula, and serves around 450,000 people through 6 separate utilities. Beyond that, the state houses more than 150 separated power grids, many serving a single small village. Distances between people and potential energy sources are sometimes large, and there are huge potential sources of "stranded" renewable energy (such as wind power in the Aleutians). On the other hand, energy demands on tiny disconnected grids can be filled with smaller and more experimental projects, and since renewable projects are competing with extremely expensive diesel energy, even high-cost renewables are economically competitive. Wind There are abundant wind resources in Alaska, particularly along the coastal regions of the state and in major passes. Wind power is a very promising resource both for small village power generation, as well as for large-scale projects like the 17.6 MW Fire Island project near Anchorage, or the 24 MW Eva Creek project near Healy. As of mid-2012, there were well over a dozen existing wind farms in Alaska and a similar number in the permitting process or under construction. Existing projects include Kotzebue , Wales , Kasigluk , Pillar Mountain and several villages in western Alaska managed by the Alaska Village Electrical Cooperative . Most of the smaller wind projects in Alaska are wind-diesel hybrid systems where wind is used to displace the amount of diesel required by remote communities in the state. The US Department of Energy also publishes a guide for Alaskans entitled "Small Wind Electric Systems " which is aimed at homeowners and small businesses interested in installing a wind system. Hydro Pillar Mountain Wind Farm on Kodiak Island Each of these turbines produces up to 1.5 MW of electricty Alaska is rich in hydroelectric power potential, and hydro already provides almost one quarter of the electrical energy in the state, mostly in Southeast Alaska. In 2010 there were around 37 public hydroelectric projects providing power throughout the state, as well as a large number of private installations. Some of the http://www.groundtruthtrekking.org/Issues/Renewable-Energy-in-Alaska.html 1David Coil, PhD, Director; 2Erin McKittrick, M.S., Director; 3Bretwood "Hig" Higman, PhD, Executive Director; Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Page 1 of 4

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