A few projects across the state are gaining momentum—including one only 80 miles from Anchorage—that could redefine geothermal energy’s role in Alaska.
Many industry experts agree that oil, natural gas, solar, hydro, geothermal, and tidal can all be developed in Alaska without one encroaching on the other’s economic importance to the state. Combined, petroleum and renewables are a positive one-two punch for Alaskans, not ideologically opposed platforms locked in some industrial grudge-match.
While rare earth elements can be found throughout the world, including in Alaska, most of the world’s production takes place in China, putting the supply chain for hundreds of products—as well as significant defense applications—at risk.
Green energy technology is built through mining. Without certain raw materials, such as graphite and rare earth metals, everything from the lithium-ion batteries that power Teslas to those storing electricity from wind turbines would be impossible to create, says US Senator Lisa Murkowski.
The Makushin Geothermal Project would accommodate all of Unalaska’s current and known potential customer base while reducing greenhouse gas emissions, increasing energy security, and helping diversify the local economy.
Alaska has some of the best renewable energy resources in the world. Yet the current lack of a domestic energy policy, transmission costs, and the isolation of more than 200 communities create a challenging environment in which to develop those resources and bring them to market.
Saft has installed an energy storage system in the city of Cordova to enable the community to make the most of hydropower generation and meet a seasonal step change in demand as the local salmon processing industry starts up in early summer.
Yakutat once found quirky fame as a surfing destination for the adventurous. Now, residents are looking into capturing wave energy to provide the town’s power.
When Alex Papasavas started her restaurant, Turkey Red, in Palmer a decade ago, her goal was to locally-source as much meat and produce as she could.
Renewable energy projects, especially solar, operate at scales of much larger magnitude in the Lower 48 than in Alaska. But size isn’t everything, and there has been a strong uptick in the development of renewable energy projects in the Alaska since 2008.