Four Alaska Communities Chosen for Resilience Projects
Igiugig, McGrath, Nikolski, and St. George are among a dozen US communities chosen for the next round of a federal resilience project.
The US Department of Energy selected twelve communities to join the Energy Transitions Initiative Partnership Project (ETIPP), which involves designing projects to address unique resilience challenges. Several national laboratories will provide technical analysis and planning support.
Regional partners include the Renewable Energy Alaska Project and the Alaska Center for Energy and Power to ensure clear communication and effective coordination between the communities and labs.
Alaska’s four new ETIPP communities will work with national labs for a few months to ensure their proposed projects are designed for successful completion within a 12- to 18-month timeframe. These selected communities have proposed the following projects:
- Igiugig—Special assistance to analyze electricity distribution efficiency, energy conservation, and impacts to the grid from increased renewables. The project will work with the local tribal council to increase communication and community engagement for energy transition issues. Outcomes will help Igiugig move toward its goal of improving energy self-sufficiency by using local, renewable resources and its own workforce while minimizing environmental impact and maintaining its cultural identity.
- McGrath—ETIPP technical assistance aims to increase energy independence and resilience while reducing the cost of energy. This project will assess the potential for renewable energy in the Western Interior, including hydrokinetic, wind, solar, green hydrogen, and micro-nuclear resources. This project also aims to leverage local economic opportunities through capacity-building efforts within the community.
- Nikolski and St. George—In Nikolski, on Unmak Island in the Western Aleutians, and in St. George, a few hundred miles north in the Pribilof Islands, assistance goes toward assessing the condition of existing wind turbines and plans to reconfigure them with a new mix of renewable energy resources. In addition to helping reduce each community’s reliance on costly imported diesel, this project will train local staff in equipment maintenance and assess the viability of battery storage.
ETIPP projects from the first round, launched last year, are ongoing in Dillingham, Wainwright, Ouzinkie, and Sitka, plus another for the Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association.
“Alaska’s geography, frequent natural disasters, and harsh climate require us to be innovative as we work to deploy affordable and resilient energy systems,” says US Senator Lisa Murkowski. “While we have many challenges in Alaska, we also have unique opportunities to find the next level of ingenuity, innovation, and great solutions.”
Other projects selected for the second round are located in Puerto Rico; Guam; Hui o Hau’ula and the University of Hawaii; Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts; Bainbridge Island in Washington and Neah Bay, home of the Makah Tribe; Beaver Island, Michigan; and Mount Desert Island, Maine.
This year the Alaska Railroad is celebrating 100 years of transportation people and cargo around Alaska. While the railroad is one of the states oldest transporters, it certainly isn’t the only one, and in this issue of Alaska Business we also check in on the Marine Highway, Span Alaska, and the White Pass & Yukon Route. For those interested in Southeast, our focus on that region provides updates on Kensington Mine, Tongass FCU, the troll fishery, and Juneau’s growing landfill.