• Alaska Community Fuel Use

      Saylor, Ben; Wilson, Meghan; Szymoniak, Nick; Fay, Ginny; Colt, Steve (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2008-10)
      The goal of this project was to estimate the amount of fuel used for space heating and electricity production by communities in Alaska. No comprehensive Alaska fuel use data exist at the community level. Community fuel consumption by type of fuel and end use is needed to estimate the potential economic benefits from demand- and supply-side investments in fuel use reduction projects. These investments include weatherization and housing stock improvements; improved lighting, appliance and space heating efficiencies; waste heat capture; electric interties, and alternative energy supply options such as wind and hydroelectric generation. Ultimately the Alaska Energy Authority (AEA) and others can use this information to rank and select a suite of projects that provide the largest gains in fuel reductions at the lowest long-term costs and the highest returns on investment over the life of the projects. Study communities consisted of Power Cost Equalization (PCE) eligible communities. Communities in the North Slope Borough were excluded because fuel subsidies offered by the borough result in different patterns of energy use by households.
    • Alaska Fuel Price Projections 2008 - 2030

      Colt, Steve; Saylor, Ben; Szymoniak, Nick (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2008-04)
      We generated Low, Medium, and High case fuel price projections for the years 2008-2030 for the following fuels: • Incremental natural gas in Southcentral Alaska delivered to a utility-scale customer • Incremental diesel delivered to a PCE community utility tank • Incremental diesel delivered to a home in a PCE community • Incremental home heating oil purchased in Anchorage, Fairbanks, Juneau, Kenai, Ketchikan, Palmer, and Wasilla This memorandum provides documentation of the assumptions and methods that we used. Two companion Excel workbooks contain the detailed projections
    • Alaska Fuel Price Projections 2009-2030

      Fay, Ginny; Saylor, Ben; Szymoniak, Nick (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2010-01-15)
    • Benefit-Cost Assesment of the Port Mackenzie Rail Extension

      Colt, Steve; Szymoniak, Nick (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2008-06-20)
      Costs We assume that the Port MacKenzie rail extension would cost $275 million to construct.1 This is a conservative estimate based on a range of between $200 million and $300 million for different route options. The time horizon runs 50 years from 2012 to 2061. O&M costs are assumed to be $1.5 million per year, with a net present value of $26.1 million. The net present value of all costs using a 5% real discount rate2 and a base year of 2010 is $301.1 million. Benefits The rail extension would provide two distinct types of benefits: 1) It reduces the cost of rail transportation; and 2) It is likely to stimulate significant new mines and other major development. These benefits come from a diverse mix of potential projects – thus a strength of the rail extension is that its economic viability does not depend on any one project. Reduced transportation costs Relative to Seward, using the extension would save 140.7 miles per one-way trip.3 Assuming an average cost savings of 6 cents per ton-mile and a 5.0% real discount rate, we estimate that using the extension would save $572 million in avoided rail costs, avoided port costs, and avoided railroad and road upgrades. These savings are shown in the table and figure on the following page. In addition to the above, we estimate that about 22,000 train crossings of Pittman Road and other roads would be avoided by the extension, saving motorists up to 64,000 vehicle-hours of travel time delay between now and 2061.
    • Benefits of the Cook Inlet Ferry to the Municipality of Anchorage

      Szymoniak, Nick; Colt, Steve (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2009-06-30)
      The purpose of this study is to examine the economic benefits of the Cook Inlet Ferry to the Municipality of Anchorage. The Cook Inlet Ferry is currently being built at the Ketchikan, Alaska shipyard. The U.S. Navy has financed construction of the ferry as a prototype military landing craft for northern, ice-filled waters. The Matanuska-Susitna Borough paid for Ferry engineering, design, and outfitting with federal transit monies. Following short-term Navy testing of the craft, it will be transferred to the Borough to provide ferry service in Cook Inlet. The Borough will provide operating and maintenance information to the Navy on an ongoing basis. The Borough will operate the ferry, which will provide regular service between Anchorage and Port MacKenzie as well as service to other points on Cook Inlet. The Ferry is expected to be operational by 2010.
    • Benefits of the Southcentral Rail Extension to the Municipality of Anchorage

      Colt, Steve; Szymoniak, Nick (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2010-01)
      The proposed Southcentral rail extension to Port MacKenzie is likely to generate significant economic benefits for the residents of Anchorage. These benefits are due to a combination of reduced transport costs, the ability to ship bulk commodities over shorter distances, and economical access to industrial land. We considered and analyzed these benefits under a set of assumptions about job creation, transportation costs, land use considerations and future mineral development. Our major findings include the following: Jobs • Port MacKenzie. The rail extension will generate new jobs for Anchorage workers by stimulating industrial development and jobs at Port MacKenzie. Under a base case scenario with a rail extension and ferry service, Anchorage residents would gain 730 average annual jobs and $50 million of annual income during the period of 2013 -2017 from industrial development at Port MacKenzie. Hundreds more jobs would be gained after 2017. The rail extension will play an important role in this process. For example, it will allow coal exports through the port as early as 2013, generating more than 100 jobs. • New Mines. Major new mines shipping concentrate via the rail extension would generate thousands of new jobs, and a significant fraction of these jobs would be held by Anchorage residents. Our detailed analysis of the potential employment from five specific mining projects indicates that more than 2,000 average annual jobs would be created in Anchorage or held by Anchorage residents once the mines are fully developed. Most of these jobs would be in mining and in professional sectors that pay good wages. Also, during initial mine development, many of the jobs would be in construction and fabrication. • Rail Construction. The construction of the rail extension would generate up to 3,000 total jobs, and ongoing operations would generate up to 150 total jobs. It is likely that many of these jobs would be held by Anchorage residents. • State Revenues. State mining taxes generated from new mines will boost the Anchorage economy. Estimated tax revenues and royalties would grow steadily, reaching $267 million per year by 2040. A large share of these potential tax revenues, roughly proportional to Anchorage’s share of state population, would likely flow into the Anchorage economy, sustaining hundreds of direct jobs and reducing property tax burdens that would otherwise stifle private sector job creation. Regional Competitiveness • New Economic Opportunities. Port MacKenzie and the rail extension, operating together, are a significant new strategic asset for the entire regional economy. This infrastructure will create expanded opportunities for mineral, timber, and energy resource development, and the export of bulk commodities by rail through Port MacKenzie constitutes a new economic sector for the Southcentral regional economy. As the region’s commercial and financial hub, Anchorage will gain jobs and income from all of this activity. • More Efficient Land Use. The rail extension allows for higher-valued use of land in Anchorage. The rail extension will allow for railroad-dependent industrial development to take place at Port MacKenzie. This development would allow limited existing industrialzoned land throughout Anchorage to be used for other, higher-value uses such as commercial development, while still meeting the regional economy’s need for industrial land. Fiscal Benefits • New State Revenues. As noted above, revenues to the State of Alaska from new resource development would grow steadily, reaching $267 million per year by 2040. These revenues will reduce the need for other taxes, stimulating capital formation and job creation by the private sector. • Higher Local Tax Base. Local governments will also see higher tax revenues from a higher-valued property tax base. The stimulated new development will increase the tax base and reduce the need to raise taxes on homeowners or existing businesses. Other Benefits • Port of Anchorage. The industrial and mineral development stimulated by the rail extension to Port MacKenzie will likely increase both the volume and the value of cargo going through the Port of Anchorage. For example, if large mines are developed, the goods and equipment used by the mines for development and operations will flow through Anchorage. • Rail Shipping Costs. The unit cost of shipping on the Alaska Railroad is likely to fall as fixed costs of roadbed maintenance and administration are spread over a higher volume of shipments.
    • Components of Alaska Fuel Costs: An Analysis of the Market Factors and Characteristics that Influence Rural Fuel Prices

      Szymoniak, Nick; Fay, Ginny; Meléndez, Alejandra Villalobos (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2010-02-17)
      Many Alaskans face extremely high, volatile fuel prices. Little is publicly known about the actual structure of Alaska’s rural fuel markets and what drives prices at the community level. The Alaska State Senate Finance Committee asked economists at the University of Alaska Anchorage, Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER) to investigate rural Alaska fuel markets and identify policy options that could be considered for legislative action to reduce fuel prices. This study is both an update and an evolution of previous ISER Components of Fuel Costs studies.1 It does not include road-accessible communities.
    • Components of Delivered Fuel Prices in Alaska

      Wilson, Meghan; Saylor, Ben; Szymoniak, Nick; Colt, Steve; Fay, Ginny (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2008-06)
      This is a systematic analysis of components of delivered fuel prices in Alaska. Data for the analysis include limited publicly available Alaska fuel prices (fall 2007 prices), as well as information the authors gathered from extensive interviews with fuel retailers and transporters, communities, and agencies. We identify the individual components of delivered fuel costs—including world price of crude oil, refining costs, transportation costs, storage and distribution costs, taxes and financing costs—and investigate how these factors influence the final retail prices of home heating fuel and gasoline. Transportation, storage, and distribution costs appear to be the most variable factors driving the large retail fuel price differentials among Alaska communities. Therefore, we investigate how factors such as seasonal icing, the number of fuel transfers enroute to specific communities, local storage and delivery infrastructure, marine and river characteristics, and distance from refineries or fuel hubs influence fuel prices. We did an in-depth analysis of how those factors influence prices in ten case study communities around the state—Allakaket/Alatna, Angoon, Bethel, Chitina, False Pass, Fort Yukon, Lime Village, Mountain Village, Unalakleet, and Yakutat. Together, the quantitative data and information on Alaska fuel logistics provide a comprehensive analysis of Alaska’s fuel prices.
    • Dollars of Difference: What Affects Fuel Prices Around Alaska?

      Wilson, Meghan; Saylor, Ben; Szymoniak, Nick; Colt, Steve; Fay, Ginny (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2008-05)
      The spike in oil prices has hit rural Alaskans especially hard, because they rely mostly on fuel oil for heating. But some rural residents are paying much more than others—at times 100% more. The Alaska Energy Authority asked ISER to analyze what determines the prices rural households pay for fuel oil and gasoline. The agency hopes this research can help identify possible ways of holding down fuel prices in the future. In this summary we report only fuel oil prices, but the full report (see back page) also includes gasoline prices. We studied 10 communities that reflect, as much as possible, the forces driving fuel prices. We collected information in November 2007, and fuel prices have gone up a lot since then. Crude oil sold for $120 a barrel in mid-May, up from about $80 in fall 2007.
    • Economic Impacts of the South Denali Implementation Plan

      Colt, Steve; Szymoniak, Nick; Fay, Ginny (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2008-02-01)
      This study estimates the economic effects of carrying out the South Denali Implementation Plan. The plan provides for construction of new visitor facilities in the South Denali Region. ISER economists used the IMPLAN input-output modeling system to project the jobs, income, and sales due to 1) initial construction activity; 2) ongoing operation and maintenance expenses; and 3) additional visitation and visitor spending attributable to the new facilities. The model results include the effects at the Mat-Su Borough and statewide Alaska levels. Local area impacts are also estimated. Suggested Citation: Colt, Steve, Fay, Ginny, Szymoniak, Nick. 2008. Economic Impact of the South Denali Implementation Plan. Prepared for the National Park Service, Denali National Park and Preserve and the Matanuska-Susitna Borough Planning and Land Use Department. Anchorage: University of Alaska Anchorage Institute of Social and Economic Research.
    • Estimated Household Costs for Home Energy Use

      Saylor, Ben; Haley, Sharman; Szymoniak, Nick (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2008-05)
      This memo estimates how much of their income Alaska households spend for home energy uses, after years of rising energy prices.1 We made the estimates at the request of State Senator Lyman Hoffman. We include costs for electricity, heat, and other home energy uses—but do not include costs for transportation fuel. Keep in mind that these are truly estimates. Because of time lags in data collection and reporting, actual consumer price data for 2008 are not available. To estimate consumer energy prices as of May 2008, we used statistical models of the relationship between oil prices and consumer prices. We also used the most recent data on per capita personal income from the Bureau of Economic Analysis to estimate 2007 annual household income. These estimates are likely to overstate actual household expenditures. As energy costs rise, households find ways to consume less. How much less, we don’t know. For these estimates, we used consumption households reported at the time of the 2000 U.S. Census. Also, the estimates in this memo reflect what energy would cost households for a year, at May 2008 prices. Consumers of course haven’t yet seen a full year at these prices, and we don’t know where prices will go from here.2 Therefore, these estimates are really like a cost index—that is, they estimate what it would cost to buy a specific amount of energy, at specific prices. That’s not the same as actual annual household expenditures. Still, these estimates give a good picture of what
    • Propane from the North Slope: Could It Reduce Energy Costs in the Interior?

      Goldsmith, Oliver Scott; Szymoniak, Nick (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2009-10)
      Could propane from the North Slope cut energy costs in Fairbanks and other Interior communities that heat buildings or generate electricity with fuel oil or naphtha? The Alaska Natural Gas Development Authority (ANGDA) thinks it could. That’s because a North Slope producer has agreed to sell ANGDA propane for considerably less than what it might otherwise cost, if there were a natural gas pipeline. Propane is a component of North Slope natural gas—and right now there’s no way to get that gas to market.* Naphtha and fuel oil, by comparison, are refined from oil—so their prices are closely tied to the volatile price of crude oil. ANGDA hopes getting a price break on propane could make it cheaper, at least until a pipeline is built—and it asked ISER to analyze the potential effects of one idea.
    • Social Indicators for Arctic Mining

      Haley, Sharman; Szymoniak, Nick; Klick, Matthew; Crow, Andrew; Schwoerer, Tobias (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2011-05)
      This paper reviews and assesses the state of the data to describe and monitor mining trends in the pan-Arctic. It constructs a mining index and discusses its value as a social impact indicator and discusses drivers of change in Arctic mining. The widely available measures of mineral production and value are poor proxies for economic effects on Arctic communities. Trends in mining activity can be characterized as stasis or decline in mature regions of the Arctic, with strong growth in the frontier regions. World prices and the availability of large, undiscovered and untapped resources with favorable access and low political risk are the biggest drivers for Arctic mining, while climate change is a minor and locally variable factor. Historical data on mineral production and value is unavailable in electronic format for much of the Arctic, specifically Scandinavia and Russia; completing the historical record back to 1980 will require work with paper archives. The most critically needed improvement in data collection and reporting is to develop comparable measures of employment: the eight Arctic countries each use different definitions of employment, and different methodologies to collect the data. Furthermore, many countries do not report employment by county and industry, so the Arctic share of mining employment cannot be identified. More work needs to be done to develop indicator measures for ecosystem service flows. More work also needs to be done developing conceptual models of effects of mining activities on fate control, cultural continuity and ties to nature for local Arctic communities.
    • Study of the Components of Delivered Fuel Costs in Alaska: January 2009 Update

      Fay, Ginny; Saylor, Ben; Szymoniak, Nick; Wilson, Meghan; Colt, Steve (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2009-01)
      This is an update of our previous report titled “Components of Delivered Fuel Prices in Alaska.”1 We provide more recent data on actual fuel prices in ten rural communities that we first examined in fall 2007. Rural communities across Alaska face extremely high fuel prices. People in these remote, cold places need large quantities of fuel for heat, electricity, and transportation. The estimated household cost for energy use in remote rural Alaska has increased significantly since 2000—increasing from approximately 16% of total household income to 47% in 2008 for the lowest income households. It is a higher portion of income for all income levels in remote rural Alaska as compared to Anchorage.2 In addition to the high price of fuel in rural Alaska, villages and communities have high unemployment rates, limited local economic bases, and local governments that are struggling to provide basic services to residents and businesses.3 A 2008 report done by the Alaska Division of Community Advocacy stated that the price of gasoline in 100 Alaska communities ranged from $2.75 (Fairbanks) to $9.00 (Arctic Village) per gallon with a mean of $5.80.4 In many areas of Alaska, transporting bulk fuel by air, barge, truck or a combination of these methods increases the price of fuel, most of which must be purchased prior to “freeze up” in cold winter months in order to allow time for delivery to remote villages. High remote rural fuel prices appear to be the result of a number of factors. These include high transportation costs to remote locations, limited and costly storage, small market size, and the financing costs associated with holding large inventories. The main purpose of this research is to identify the components of the cost of delivered fuel across rural Alaska. By understanding these cost components, it may be possible to identify opportunities to address them and reduce the overall cost of fuel.
    • UAA Inventory: Greenhouse Gas Emissions From Transportation

      Szymoniak, Nick; Ralph, Kelcie; Colt, Steve (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2008-03-25)
      As a signatory of the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment, UAA has agreed to conduct an inventory of its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. This inventory serves as a baseline against which to measure the effectiveness of GHG emissions reduction projects. To fulfill the Commitment UAA agreed to conduct an inventory of its Scope 1 and 2 emissions, as well as some Scope 3 emissions. In addition to signing the Presidents Climate Commitment, UAA signed the Talloires Declaration in April 2004. The Talloires Declaration is a statement of principles and practices for using higher education to promote sustainability. Scope 1 emissions are defined as direct GHG emissions occurring from sources that are owned or controlled by the institution. Scope 2 emissions are indirect emissions generated in the production of energy purchased by the institution. Scope 3 emissions are indirect emissions that are the consequence of the activities of the institution, but occur from sources not owned or controlled by the institution. Pursuant to the Commitment, this study estimates the levels of two types of Scope 3 GHG emissions – commuting by students and employees, and university-funded air travel. Scope 1 and Scope 2 GHG emissions are being estimated in a separate study. Two models were developed and used: a UAA commuter model and a UAA air travel model.