Factors influencing the development of wind power in rural Alaska communities
AuthorMaynard, Jill Erin
ChairJoly, Julie Lurman
Chapin, Terry III
Wind power plants
Remote area power supply systems
Diesel electric power-plants
MetadataShow full item record
Abstract"The state of Alaska is endowed with extensive and developable wind resources. The greatest areas of class seven, "superior" wind resources in the entire United States are located in Alaska. Developing these resources has the potential to play a pivotal role in reshaping Alaska's future by providing reliable, local, and stable-priced power. Despite this tremendous natural asset and the immeasurable benefits it harbors, Alaska's wind resources remain largely untapped and underutilized. Rural Alaskan communities, classified by their remote locations, small populations, and consequent low electric demands and high electric costs, possess some of the greatest wind resources in Alaska. The challenge, however, is to overcome the current social, political, technical, economic, and environmental constraints. This thesis aims to identify factors that contribute to and constrain the successful development of wind power projects in rural Alaska and to recommend solutions to overcome specific barriers. The findings demonstrated that the primary influencing factors included leadership, coordination at local and state levels, access to information and assistance, and local human, technical, and financial capacity. Such factors must be an integral part of planning efforts in order to advance wind power development in rural communities"--Leaf iii
DescriptionThesis (M.S.) University of Alaska Fairbanks, 2010
Table of Contents1. Introduction to wind power development in rural Alaska -- Introduction -- Thesis question and objective -- Research considerations -- Methodology -- Literature review -- Case studies -- Surveys -- Interviews -- Thesis structure -- 2. Background and literature review -- What is wind energy? -- Wind energy: national and global context -- Rural energy development: a global overview -- Study area: rural Alaska overview -- Rural electrification in Alaska: windfall or curse? -- Electric utilities -- Past and present wind projects in Alaska -- Energy policy: a national and state context -- Energy policy in Alaska -- Main actors/stakeholders -- Federal, state and local government -- Local community -- Electric utility -- Private sector (developers, contractors, manufacturers) -- Researchers -- Nonprofit and advocacy organizations -- 3. Thresholds and barrier to wind power development in rural Alaska -- Thresholds to wind power development -- Social thresholds -- Political thresholds -- Technical thresholds -- Economic thresholds -- Environmental thresholds -- Summary of thresholds -- Survey of barriers to wind power development -- Survey development -- Response rate and methods of analysis -- Survey results -- Background information -- Level of local acceptance and support -- Commitment of leadership -- Level of local coordination -- Level of local capacity and access to information -- State-level political barriers -- Economic considerations -- Importance of environmental and cultural protection -- Technical considerations -- Barriers identified by the winder sector -- Scope of interviews -- Regulatory barriers -- Barriers to building and utilizing local capacity -- Political barriers -- Economic barriers -- Discussion of barriers identified by the wind sector -- 4. Contributing factors to rural wind power development: case studies on existing wind-diesel power projects in Kotzebue, St. Paul Island and Kasigluk -- Case study overview -- Kotzebue case study -- Community description -- Energy infrastructure -- Kotzebue wind farm: planning and development -- Influencing factors of wind power development in Kotzebue -- Setbacks and challenges -- St. Paul Island case study -- Community description -- Energy infrastructure -- St. Paul Island wind farm: planning and development -- Influencing factors of wind power development in St. Paul -- Setbacks and challenges -- Kasigluk case study -- Community description -- Energy infrastructure -- Kasigluk wind farm: planning and development -- Influencing factors of wind power development in Kasigluk -- Setbacks and challenges -- Common influencing factors among Kotzebue, St. Paul Island, and Kasigluk -- 5. Conclusion and discussion -- Influencing factors for development -- Leadership/project champion -- Local, regional, and statewide networks -- Local capacity: human, technical, and financial -- Access to information and information dissemination -- Recommendations -- Recommendations for the State of Alaska -- Recommendations for communities -- Closing -- References -- Appendix.
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