Renewable energy in rural Alaska: two case studies and their implications
AuthorLogan, Jesse L.
KeywordElectric power production
Renewable energy sources
Wind power plants
Geothermal power plants
Electric power distribution
Remote area power supply systems
Hybrid power systems
MetadataShow full item record
Abstract"This thesis argues that the costs of electricity in rural Alaska are ecological, economic, and social, and asks whether or not renewable energy can reduce these costs. Two case studies are examined: a wind-diesel hybrid system in Kotzebue, Alaska, and an Organic Rankine cycle geothermal system in Chena Hot Springs, Alaska. In both cases it is found that when compared to the status quo (fossil fuel generated electricity), renewable energy technologies have reduced these costs. Historically, the funding for energy projects in Alaska has shifted from private enterprise investment to state and federal support. This is important in the debate regarding funding for a transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy. The Power Equalization Program is also examined and found to be a paradoxical subsidy that provides economic relief but does not solve the problem of high electricity costs and may act as a disincentive to the deployment of renewables"--Leaf iii
DescriptionThesis (M.A.) University of Alaska Fairbanks, 2009
Table of Contents1. Introduction -- 2. The cost of electricity -- 3. Electrifying Alaska -- 4. The power cost equalization program -- 5. Wind-diesel hybrid in Kotzebue -- 6. Geothermal at Chena Hot Springs -- 7. Analysis of the cases -- 8. Conclusions -- References.
Showing items related by title, author, creator and subject.
The Extralegal Forum and Legal Power: The Dynamics of the Relationship — Other PipelinesConn, Stephen (Institute of Social, Economic and Government Research, University of Alaska, Fairbanks, 1974-02-26)Diverse groups — e.g., Brazilian squatters, Navajos, village Eskimos and Indians — look to special forums to resolve disputes outside the formal legal system. These forums are employed because they accept disputes as defined by their clients and offer remedies based upon these conceptualizations. Formal agents of the law in their environments cannot do this. When these forums are extralegal (without formal legal authority to act) and are located in an environment where the formal legal process has the theoretical capacity to intervene in the disputes, they must tap into authentic lines of power to maintain their credibility with their constituents. Legal power is not usually formally delegated without defined limits upon its use. Because extralegal forums often must be free from the constraints of particular norms and processes, in order to correctly define and remedy disputes, extralegal forums seek borrowed power through special relationships with formal agents of legal power. Then they reapply it to meet the needs of their constituents. This paper describes the ways to study these relationships and their likely impact upon an informal forum. The author suggests a way of viewing extralegal dispute resolution in a given community against the larger matrix of relationships between the formal and informal legal process. He draws upon his field work in Brazilian squatter colonies, Navajo Indian communities, and rural Athabascan and Eskimo villages in Alaska.
Small Scale Modular Nuclear Power: An Option for Alaska?Fay, Ginny; Schwörer, Tobias (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2011-03-03)Small Modular Reactor (SMR) Economic Screening Analysis SMRs are nuclear power plants smaller than 300 MW. Compat Design, factory-fabricated, scaleable, transportable. Modeling goals: Where in Alaska does currently developed SMR technology make economic sense? How sensitive are outcomes to varying capital and conventional energy costs?
Power Cost Equalization Funding Formula ReviewFay, Ginny; Meléndez, Alejandra Villalobos; Schwörer, Tobias (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2012-03)The purpose of this study is to examine the current Power Cost Equalization (PCE) program formula’s impacts on incentives for implementation of energy efficiency and renewable energy measures. In addition, it examines if alternative formula structures might improve market signals that are more conducive to investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy in rural Alaska. As part of the analysis we also present information on the history of the PCE program and levels and patterns of electricity consumption across regions of Alaska. Alaska has large regional and intra-regional differences in energy consumption and prices that result from a number of factors including proximity to different types and quantities of resources, community population, remoteness, and transportation costs. Most communities in rural Alaska depend on volatile and high priced fossil fuels for the generation of electricity, space heating and transportation. The Alaska statewide weighted average residential rate for electricity (17.6 cents per kWh in CY2011) is substantially higher than the U.S. average of 11.8 cents per kWh (U.S. EIA, 2012). Yet in Alaska the average residential rate per kWh is currently lower than in Hawaii (34.5 cents), New York (18.4 cents) and Connecticut (18.1 cents). Hidden in the Alaska statewide average is considerable variation with some communities paying less than the national average and some—generally those least able to afford it—paying among the highest in the country. The Railbelt and Southeast regions have the lowest average residential electric rates (Appendix I map). North Slope residential customers also have lower average rates because of access to natural gas and North Slope Borough energy payments in addition to PCE disbursements. Most other regions have rates two to three times as high as Alaska urban rates. Some communities with hydroelectric power have notably low rates but customers are not paying the full, true cost of power because the cost of construction was heavily subsidized by state and federal governments. In Table 3 (p. 20) we present average annual residential electricity consumption and rates for different regions of Alaska.