Alaska Energy Authority is the State's Energy Office.  We are a small organization with a big mission: to reduce the cost of energy in Alaska.



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Weekly Highlight for January 7, 2019   

AEA staff traveled to Fort Yukon to join the startup and training for the community’s wood chip biomass boiler. The boiler is part of the local utility’s combined heat & power plant; it provides electricity to the community as well as recovered heat from the gensets and biomass heat to a district heating loop containing several buildings. The utility has expressed interest in expanding their heat sales and heating loop.              

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A solar project in rural Alaska takes aim at sky-high electric bills

By  October 24, 2018
A new renewable energy project in the Northwest Alaska village of Buckland aims to demonstrate solar and wind power’s potential to reduce the region’s sky-high utility costs.

The village-run electric utility is set to switch on three new solar arrays this week, and a new battery system next year.

Boosters say systems like Buckland’s have huge potential to reduce the cost of power in rural Alaska, where electricity prices can be six times the national average and monthly light bills can top $1,000. But major obstacles remain, too, from the technology’s cost to the region’s remoteness. 

Buckland, which now makes most of its power with generators fueled by barged-in diesel, is a sort of test case. Once the system is fully functional and linked with preexisting wind turbines, the village expects to be able to shut off its diesel generators for hours at a time during the summer, according to the project’s designers.

“Everybody’s for it – everybody wants to get away from the fuel,” said Erik Weber, who runs the village water plant and has helped with the solar installation. “When things like an energy crisis come up and there’s not a lot of fuel to go around, we can keep going here.”  More


Action team delivers recommendations to address climate change

FAIRBANKS — Gov. Bill Walker’s Climate Action Leadership Team delivered a set of recommendations to the Walker administration Wednesday in an attempt to mitigate the visible effects of climate change in Alaska.

In October 2017, Walker signed Administrative Order 289, acknowledging the effects of climate change in Alaska and creating the Alaska Climate Change Strategy and Alaska Climate Action Leadership Team to “advise the governor on critical and timely actions to address climate change challenges that will safeguard now and for future generations.”

“As the northernmost state, Alaska is America’s Arctic, and our state’s communities face accelerating erosion, rising sea levels, ocean acidification, rapidly thawing permafrost and changing intensity in wildland fires,” the order reads. 

Walker tasked the leadership team with digging into the state’s experience with climate change and preparing recommendations that focus on mitigation, adaptation, research and response.

Since October, the team has met more than 20 times, looked at more than 300 pages of public comments, hosted eight listening sessions, formed two technical advisory panels and hosted 25 young Alaskans for a Young Leaders’ Dialogue on Climate Change.

On Wednesday, the team provided the Walker administration with a 40-page recommended action plan and a 12-page plan for recommended policy. 

These included expanding the current State Energy Program to include state-owned buildings of 5,000 feet and larger and retrofit 25 percent of those buildings to be more energy efficient by 2025, beginning with the least efficient; take a look at the Alaska Marine highway examining how feasible it would be to use liquefied natural gas to power ferries; develop a voluntary reporting program to further enhance the Alaska Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory and work to further education Alaskans on sources and trends of said gases; and consult with the Alaska Energy Authority on goals for renewable energy.   More

Actions to confront climate change announced by state

Walker says state will work toward increased energy affordability

State officials say they plan some immediate steps to confront climate change, from lowering emissions and energy costs to addressing villages at risk from erosion, flooding and permafrost degradation and assessing climate effects on Alaska’s fisheries.

The announcement on Sept. 26 from the Walker administration came after the Climate Action Leadership Team appointed by Gov. Bill Walker delivered its recommendations on mitigating and adapting to climate change,

“Alaska is ground zero for climate change,” said Walker. “White that poses serious challenges, it also makes us uniquely positioned to understand climate issues, develop innovative responses, and share them with others.”

It is a critical responsibility of the state government to work toward increased energy affordability and healthy, resilient communities that can prosper as the environment changes, he said.

The team presented Walker with two documents summarizing recommended policy changes and action plans. The first is a broad outline of six policy areas aimed at strengthening climate change resilience, to include communities and partnerships, human and ecosystem health, economic opportunity, clean energy, outreach and education, and investment.

The second includes several dozen potential actions for the state to review, research and take action on as resources allow.

Climate change is hardly a new issue facing Alaska, which has a long history of trying to understand the challenges and opportunities these issues present to the state. On Oct. 31, 2017, Walker, who is seeking a second term as governor, signed Administrative Order 289, establishing the Alaska Climate Change Strategy and the Climate Action for Alaska Leadership Team. The order called for state agencies to review their precious work on climate change and identify immediate actions to be taken.  More

State, Local Officials Celebrate Success of Waterfall Creek, King Cove's Second Hydroelectric Facility, during Dedication Ceremony

September 24, 2018

Several state and local officials traveled to King Cove to participate in the city’s dedication and ribbon cutting ceremony of Waterfall Creek, the community’s second hydroelectric facility. Since Waterfall Creek began operating in May 2017, it has produced more than 1.3 MW (megawatts) of energy and has performed remarkably well.

“We are very proud that since 1994, King Cove has been the most remote, productive micro-grid renewable energy community in Alaska,” said King Cove Mayor Henry Mack.

State and local officials who flew to King Cove for the city’s dedication ceremony included: Alaska Senator Lyman Hoffman; Rep. Bryce Edgmon; Barbara Blake, Senior Advisor to Governor Walker; and Aleutians East Borough Mayor Alvin Osterback. The group visited the city’s waterfront, school, new diesel plant, and the new Waterfall Creek hydro facility in addition to the Delta Creek hydro facility.

“What it means to King Cove is they’re moving toward electric energy independence, which is a goal I wish all Alaskans could have,” said Alaska Senator Lyman Hoffman.

“This project is a role model for other communities because every community aspires, to some extent, to have renewable energy,” said Rep. Bryce Edgmon. “I see places like King Cove, Kodiak and Cordova leading the way.”   More

New energy projects seek to lower electricity costs in Southeast Alaska

By   September 18, 2018

New projects are under development throughout the region to help reduce energy costs for Southeast Alaska residents. A panel presented some of those during last week’s Southeast Conference annual fall meeting in Ketchikan.

Jodi Mitchell is with Inside Passage Electric Cooperative, which is working on the Gunnuk Creek hydroelectric project for Kake. IPEC is a non-profit, she said, with the goal of reducing electric rates for its members.

The Gunnuk Creek project will be built at an existing dam.

“The benefits for the project will be, of course, renewable energy for Kake. And we estimate it will save about 6.2 million gallons over its 50-year life,” she said. “Although, as you heard earlier, these hydro projects last forever.”

The gallons saved are of diesel fuel, which currently is used to power generators for electricity.

IPEC operates other hydro projects in Klukwan and Hoonah. Mitchell said they’re looking into future projects, one near Angoon and another that would add capacity to the existing Hoonah project.

Mitchell said they fund much of their work through grants, which helps keep electric rates at a reasonable level.    More

Does it pay to install solar panels in Alaska?

For many home or cabin owners, solar has become a cost-effective consideration the last couple years — even in Alaska. The cost savings of installing solar as your primary energy source varies widely on conditions and locations throughout the state. 

The question of whether solar is worth the investment, or yields a quick payback time, is dependent largely on how much you now pay for a kilowatt of electricity and the cost of buying the panels. The price of the racks to mount the panels, tracking equipment if you desire to use it and batteries should also be considered in the cost.

Batteries are needed if you want to use the energy you produce. Typically, they are deep cycle and can vary in voltage; most often, several are purchased and strung together. They can be expensive, and they take a fair amount of maintenance. If you are willing to sell the energy to a local utility even though you buy your home energy from that utility, you are wisely using the electrical grid as your “battery” or storage.

In Alaska, the amount the utility pays for your solar-generated energy is going to be only a portion of what you pay for electricity per kilowatt. And that is if your local utility will buy your electricity. That may depend on the utility’s overall load it supplies for other customers.

The amount of solar power you can harness increases with snow-free, clear skies and cold weather. Solar gain decreases for about a month and a half or so before and after Christmas. Depending on the site location, terrain, standing trees, etc., it is possible to receive some solar gain for those three months, yet it will most likely be negligible due to the low arc of the sun.    More


EPA to award 1.6 million grant to Northwest, Tribal Entities including TCC


Home Energy Leaders Program: ‘HELP’-ing Southeast Alaskans save money and energy

Wednesday, September 5, 2018 2:01pm

Tackling energy loss can be difficult, in part, because it’s hard to see.

Energy creeps out through creaky door frames and window cracks in the form of heat loss. It is sucked out and drained by plugged-in but “off” appliances as phantom or “vampire energy.” Non-LED bulbs blaze through electrical energy at a cheetah pace. One element of energy loss though is easy to see: high utility bills.

The Home Energy Leaders Program (HELP), which is wrapping up its pilot season this week, aims to make simple energy saving solutions available to four rural Southeast communities.

HELP is hosted by the Renewable Energy Alaska Program and Southeast Conference, and supported by the Alaska Conservation Foundation, Hoonah Indian Association, the Inside Passage Electric Cooperative in Kake, and the Sustainable Southeast Partnership. Seven residents from Kake, Angoon, Hoonah and Yakutat were flown to Juneau in January to take a crash course training in energy efficiency and residential energy auditing. Four more, who were weathered out of the Juneau event, were trained later online. Once trained and paperwork was signed, energy leaders took to their home communities in March with surveys and resources like LED lights and weather stripping to audit interested neighbor’s homes.

Niccole Williams, of Hoonah, is one of those trained leaders and since early spring she’s audited more than 20 of her neighbors’ residences.

“I’ve gotten feedback from people who have taken my advice and changed to LED bulbs, used power strips and have done all the work that I’ve stressed during the audit and they actually did see a difference in their energy bill,” Williams said. “When they see me in town, people have literally stopped me and made a point to say, ‘Thank you so much for helping me save money!’ It’s a really great feeling.”    More


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