Research Matters No. 66. New Alaska Energy Statistics Report Now Available
Roughly 6.5 million megawatt-hours of electricity were generated across Alaska in 2011, with natural gas generating 58%, hydroelectric power 20%, diesel and other oil products 16%, coal 6%, and wind less than 1%. Those are preliminary numbers from the most recent annual update of Alaska Energy Statistics, by Ginny Fay and Alejandra Villalobos Melendez of ISER and Corinna West of the Alaska Energy Authority. Final figures will be available in spring 2013. The 2011 preliminary numbers show:
• The shares of electricity generated by natural gas and oil products went up slightly between 2010 and 2011, while the share generated by hydropower declined somewhat.
• The Railbelt region (running from the Kenai Peninsula in the south to Fairbanks in the Interior) generates most of its electricity with natural gas, but also some with hydropower. Many communities in Southeast Alaska rely on hydropower, but some depend entirely on diesel. Rural communities in Western and Interior Alaska rely primarily on diesel to generate electricity, but wind power is being added in a growing number of rural locations, financed largely by the Denali Commission and the Alaska Renewable Energy Fund.
• On average, residential use of electricity per customer in Alaska was about 7,770 kilowatt-hours in 2011. That's considerably less than the national average of 11,500 kilowatt-hours. But use within Alaska varied widely, depending on the price of electricity—from 1,500 kilowatt-hours in places where electricity is most expensive to 14,900 kilowatt-hours where it is most expensive.