Monday, August 17, 2009

Hope for REAL energy solutions in rural Alaska?

I was visiting Southeast Alaska this summer, and had a few discussions about the impact of something like a small wind farm in some of the small communities I was in. Kodiak has a few now, and CIRI is developing some over on Fire Island - I've heard of other either in development, being researched, or already up.

This, of course, led to a discussion on other alternative energy solutions for rural Alaska, and why they almost never happen (prohibitive cost to start up that smal communities can't shoulder, intervention by large companies, too much beauracracy to navigate, etc.) I really believe rural Alaska could lead the way in developing energy solutions for the country, even the world - but there are blockades in the way.

I hope this is a small, maybe bigger, chip in the barrier. From the Juneau Empire, Murkowski "welcoming" (I don't really know what that means, as far as her involvement) two grants totalling over $3 million for hydro-electric projects.

Not huge in the grand scheme, maybe, but huge for those communities. I imagine Juneau residents can tell you what it's like having to curtail their power or face steep bills not so long ago after a power shortage, though I imagine most rural Alaska residents would probably welcome their "steep" bills in leiu of their own. I'm no scientist, or energy expert, so it is easy for me to say "other people" should develop innovative solutions in rural Alaska, but there are hundreds of communities out there prime to be energy alternative guinea pigs!