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Begich Welcomes Department of Defense Energy Secretary to Alaska


Showcases Alaska Energy Innovations and National Opportunities

U.S. Sen. Mark Begich will be joined by Department of Defense (DOD) Assistant Secretary for Operational Energy Plans and Programs, Sharon Burke, this weekend and Monday on a trip to Tanana, Eielson, Fairbanks and Anchorage.  The tour will look at new energy technologies Alaskans are developing for remote Alaska communities as well as urban areas to reduce energy costs and. Improve energy performance and efficiency in operations and training. Assistant Secretary Burke will also share her knowledge and experience leading the Department of Defense to develop and purchase new technologies to achieve the same goals. 

Sen. Begich invited Burke to Alaska because of the shared challenges facing rural Alaska and remote military operations.  The DOD spends over $20 billion per year on energy, making it one of the largest energy consumers in the country.  As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Begich has pushed DOD to find new technologies to save taxpayers money but also reduce the U.S. reliance on foreign sources through use of new renewable technologies and increased U.S. fossil fuel production.

“Alaska has great resources – traditional and renewable – that can help reduce our military’s dependence on foreign sources,” Begich said. ”We are also a great test lab for new technologies for off-the-grid power that can work in remote villages or military operations.”

Burke’s position was created by Congress to strengthen the energy security of U.S. military operations through better energy use, innovation and management. Operation energy accounts for 75 percent of all energy used by the DOD.

Trip highlights include:

  • Tanana energy tour – Sunday, 10:30am – 1:30 pm;
  • Alaska Energy Innovations Roundtable – Monday, 8:30 am, Alaska Center for Energy and Power Technology Lab, 814 Alumni Drive, Fairbanks;
  • Cold Climate Housing Research Center Tour – Monday, 10:30 am, CCHRC 1000 Fairbanks Street, Fairbanks;
  • Sen. Begich and Sec. Burke address the public at a luncheon sponsored by the Fairbanks Economic Development Corporation – Monday, 12:00 pm, Westmark Hotel, Gold Room, Fairbanks;
  • Alaska’s Role in America’s Energy Security Roundtable – Monday, 3:00 pm, Anchorage Federal Building, Denali Conference Room, 5th floor. Participants include ConocoPhillips, BP, Shell, Brookes Range Petroleum, and more.


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