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Weekly Highlight for January 22, 2018

                   
    • AEA received a copy of a 12/20/17 letter sent from Governor Walker to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. The letter requested an extension of existing regulatory relief for remote Alaska communities from specific diesel genset emission control requirements. This relief is needed to provide cost effective and sustainable prime power in rural communities.

                     

 

 

   

           
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Bradley Lake Project Management meeting - Feb 2
Intertie Management Committee meeting - Feb 2
 
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AEA Announces new Executive Director
AEA Board approves Battle Creek Financing Package
Biomass Greenhouse Handbook
Susitna-Watana Legislative Report  2017

 

 


   
 

Kake hydro gets boost in governor’s budget

By   December 24, 2017
 

A hydroelectric plant for a small Southeast Alaska community is a step closer to reality. Gov. Bill Walker included funding for Kake’s Gunnuk Creek project in his capital budget proposal.

Kake is a village of about 600 people on Kupreanof Island, about 100 miles southeast of Juneau.

It gets its power from diesel generators, which makes it expensive.

Officials have been looking for alternatives for years.

The most likely option, at this point, is a small hydroelectric project using water from nearby Gunnuk Creek.

“It is shovel-ready,” said Jodi Mitchell, CEO and general manager of Inside Passage Electric Cooperative, a nonprofit group that also runs systems in Hoonah, Angoon, Klukwan and the Chilkat Valley.

Mitchell said Gunnuk Creek, if built, will be the third such project for its communities.   More

On Alaska’s Prince of Wales Island, wood heat pays social, economic dividends

January 8, 2018 by  

Prince of Wales Island sits at the southern tip of Alaska’s Alexander Archipelago, its dense forests and tiny communities accessible only by boat or an hour’s float plane flight from Ketchikan.

In this sylvan isle, 10 is a magic number. If 10 students enroll in October, you have a school. If the community musters just nine students, there is no school.

As with many remote rural places, a public school is the difference between a community and a ghost town.

“At one time, we had 21 schools and now we’re down to 8,” said Lauren Burch, superintendent of the Southeast Island School District. “And once the schools shutter, they don’t come back. Now those places fade into summer homes and ghost towns.

“In our world, the school’s the community hub and often the only employer in the winter time. It’s the glue that holds the town together. We have an obligation to these communities to help them stay viable. I have to know those 10 kids are sticking through the year. The best way to do that is if papa’s got a job.”

At six public schools across the island, the installation of modern wood heating systems has fueled a surge of energy savings, student entrepreneurship and, surprisingly, improved nutrition.  More

Consolidated power

Anchorage mayor proposes sale of ML&P to Chugach Electric Association

Alan Bailey Petroleum News

Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz is proposing the sale of municipality-owned electric utility Municipal Light & Power to Chugach Electric Association. The result would be a single, consolidated utility in Anchorage, serving the city’s electricity consumers. The idea is to achieve long-term cost savings and efficiencies by eliminating the duplication of functions and through the more efficient use of resources such as hydropower. The plan is to ask voters for approval of the sale by putting the proposal on the upcoming municipal ballot in April.

“This is a momentous occasion, and it’s momentous because a lot of people over a long period of time have worked hard to get us to this point,” Berkowitz told reporters during a Dec. 21 press conference.

“This has been a long time in coming. This has been discussed many times over the past 40 years,” said Janet Reiser, chair of the Chugach Electric board.

$1 billion deal

Total payments to the municipality from Chugach Electric for the deal, including up-front payments, annual acquisition payments and payments in lieu of taxes, would amount to some $1 billion over a 30-year period. The consequence would be payments to the municipality to replace the revenues that the municipality currently receives through its ownership of ML&P.  More

New analysis out on renewable energy costs in rural Alaska

Many rural communities in Alaska have been experimenting with renewable energy systems in recent years, trying to reduce the amount of costly fuel they have to ship in. In late December, researchers at the Alaska Center for Energy and Power published a series of articles looking at how those technologies are doing, and what challenges remain in making them more cost effective.

The analysis includes data from wind, solar electric, biomass, and several other energy technologies that are currently in use in over 100 rural communities around the state.

Erin Whitney is one of the lead researchers. She says that renewable energies are helping to bring costs down in many rural areas, but there are still improvements to be made. One of the big takeaways from her team’s analysis is that the cost of maintaining renewable energy systems — not just installing them — can put a real burden on communities. She says that finding ways to streamline the maintenance process, or coming up with other ways to bring the cost of down is key to making renewable energy solutions sustainable in rural Alaska.

The research was made possible by a grant from the Alaska Energy Authority back in 2015. It was part of their effort to come up with recommendations for making energy more affordable in parts of the state that won’t have access to the proposed natural gas pipeline.   More

In Norway, Electric and Hybrid Cars Outsell Conventional Models

Sales of electric and hybrid cars in Norway outpaced those running on fossil fuels last year, cementing the country’s position as a global leader in the push to restrict vehicle emissions.

Norway, a major oil exporter, would seem an unlikely champion of newer, cleaner-running vehicles. But the country offers generous incentives that make electric cars cheaper to buy, and provides additional benefits once the vehicles are on the road.

Countries around the world have ramped up their promotion of hybrid and electric cars. As China tries to improve air quality and dominate new vehicle technology, the government there wants one in five cars sold to run on alternative fuels by 2025. France and Britain plan to end the sale of gasoline- and diesel-powered cars by 2040.  More

Prince of Wales Island schools started growing food. Now first graders are binging on broccoli

By  December 12, 2017

One Southeast school district has been raising fruits and vegetables in greenhouses, because it’s easier to get kids to eat their greens if those children have grown those vegetables themselves.

And the district powers the project with renewable energy.

An elementary class in Coffman Cove is assembled for a morning lesson. But instead of desks in this classroom, there are UV lights and row after row of raised soil beds.

The district’s agriculture coordinator Cody Beus shows the class how to plant carrot seeds.

This past year the school built a 6,912-square-foot greenhouse.

Wood-fired boilers feed heat into the hydroponic system. The roots of the crops sit in heated water rather than soil.”  More

Community Solar Project coming to Anchorage

By
 
ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - Anchorage may soon be home to the largest community solar project in Alaska. Chugach Electric is expected to spend around $2 million to construct a 2,000 solar panel field capable of generating 550 megawatt hours per year.

"There will be 500 shares available to members and each share will supplement about 15 percent to 17 percent of energy use," said Sean Skaling, Manager of Business & Sustainable Program Development for Chugach Electric.

After surveying nearly 700 Chugach Members, the co-operative found that 63 percent wanted to see solar projects developed, and 60 percent of those said they'd be willing to pay more for solar power once developed.

Interested Chugach Electric members will be able to buy the shares, which will increase their individual bills slightly, but will help build a more environmentally-friendly generation system.

"We think it's going to be about a $10-a-month (additional) premium, so on average you'll maybe see $25-a-month and you'll get $15 for a monthly premium of about $10 in solar," said Skaling.  More

Power Pledge Challenge winners tour MEA's Eklutna Generation Station

 
 
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