Arctic Renewable Energy Working Group
A USARC-Coordinated Working Group
Finding a Fix for Alaska’s Rural Village Energy Problems
Fossil fuels are by far the most common means of providing energy for heating, electricity and transportation in remote Alaskan communities that are disconnected from a centralized power grid (Fig. 1). In these communities, fuel cost burden is often voiced as the priority concern for rural residents.
The challenges of transporting fossil fuels to these remote communities, the high cost of fuel storage, the adverse effects of fossil fuel combustion on the environment and human health, as well as the price volatility of oil, have resulted in the need to develop and advance renewable energy options and energy efficient technologies and behaviors.
Energy efficiency and well-maintained diesel power generation are essential to stable heat and electric energy use on isolated grids in remote communities. However, dependence on fossil fuels can be minimized through both efficiency and conservation practices and integration of renewable resources (biomass, geothermal, hydro, solar, wave/tidal, wind, etc.) with well-maintained diesel systems.
Initial working group efforts are concentrated on the heating needs of isolated Alaskan villages. A heat-focused workshop was held in January 2016. Based on this, a heat-related research plan is in development for rural Alaska, focused on reducing heating oil consumption, increasing energy efficiency, and the integration of renewable energy.
Figure 1. Alaska power generation by source for 2013. Note that the Northern Rural Communities pie chart excludes the Southeast, Kodiak, Copper River/Chugach, and Railbelt AEA Energy Regions. Data provided by Alaska Energy Authority (AEA)
Check out the AREWG brochure for more information on this working group and the heat-related research plan.
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