• 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 Natives and the "New Harpoon": Economic Performance of the ANCSA Regional Corporations

      Colt, Steve (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 2001)
      In this paper I develop and analyze 20 years of data on the economic performance of the 12 regional corporations created by the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971 (ANCSA).The act was a radical departure from previous U.S. policy toward indigenous peoples. Alaska's 75,000 Aleuts, Eskimos, and Indians received almost $1 billion in cash and acquired clear title to more than 40 million acres of land, an area larger than New England. This wealth was vested in 12 regional and almost 200 village-level business corporations. As a group, the 12 regional corporations lost 80 percent of their original cash endowment -- about $380 million -- in direct business operations between 1973 and 1993. But behind this poor overall financial performance is a surprising amount of cross-sectional variation. I first show that allocation of business assets to different economic sectors plays a statistically significant but empirically minor role in explaining this differential performance. I then construct panel data on shareholder employment, wages, and quasirents and test the hypothesis that the regional corporations traded off business profits for Native jobs. The data strongly reject this hypothesis. Quasirents from Native shareholder employment were important to only three firms -- the rest lost money without any countervailing employment. Case history evidence suggests that internal sharing networks and common preferences helped the high-employment firms to deliver both jobs and dividends. Overall, these results suggest caution in the use of group-based lump-sum transfers as economic development tools.
    • The Alaska Natural Gas Pipeline: What's It All About?

      Gorsuch, Lee; Tussing, Arlon R.; Persily, Larry; Larsen, Peter; Goldsmith, Scott; Foster, Mark; Fischer, Victor; Colt, Steve; Bradner, Tim; Berman, Matthew (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 2005)
      Alaska has collected nearly $100 billion in oil revenues (adjusted to today’s dollars) since it became a state. Almost all those revenues have been from oil produced on the North Slope, where the largest known oil field in the U.S. was discovered in 1968. Construction of the trans-Alaska oil pipeline in the 1970s made development of that oil possible. The North Slope also has one of the largest accumulations of natural gas in the country—and for 30 years Alaskans have been hoping for construction of a second pipeline, to carry that gas to market. Gas pipelines have been proposed at times over the years. But none has been built, because investors did not think it was economic. Now, with higher natural gas prices and changes in the North American market, many people think a gas project may be possible. Alaska stands to gain a ot if a gas pipeline is built—a new long-term source of state revenues; more jobs and increased business activity; an increased local property tax base; and a potential new in-state source of natural gas for home heating, electricity, and industrial uses. With future supplies of natural gas from Cook Inlet uncertain, many Alaskans want one or more “spur” pipelines to be built from the main pipeline, to make natural gas available to Alaska communities. But access to the gas will come at a price, and not all Alaskans will benefit equally.
    • The Alaska Village Energy Model

      Colt, Steve (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska, 2013)
      We have constructed a simple but comprehensive village energy use model that includes space heating and transportation fuel use as well as electricity. Because people in isolated remote northern communities pay about 2/3 of their overall energy bills for heat and transportation (WH Pacific et al. 2012), knowledge of overall energy demand by major end use is important when considering energy systems that can make the best use of efficiency and renewables as resources to offset costly fossil fuels. Previous work (Devine & Baring-Gould 2004) provides community planners and policy makers with a good tool for estimating community electricity demand. This paper builds on that work with an integrated model that can be used to estimate overall village energy usage based on a relatively small number of socioeconomic characteristics, such as population; number of residential, commercial and public facilities; housing and building stock characteristics; and transportation patterns and equipment types. The Alaska Village Energy Model (AVEM) model uses the best available primary data from recent collection efforts, and can easily incorporate new data that may become available."
    • Alaska’s People and Economy, 1867-2009

      Leask, Linda; Goldsmith, Oliver Scott; Knapp, Gunnar; Colt, Steve (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2009-09)
      Utterly worthless. That’s how a congressman from Missouri described Alaska in 1867, when the U.S. bought it from Russia. A lot of Americans agreed. For almost 100 years, hardly anyone— except some Alaskans—wanted Alaska to become a state. But Alaska did finally become a state, in 1959. Today, after 142 years as a U.S. possession and 50 years as a state, Alaska has produced resources worth (in today’s dollars) around $670 billion. The U.S. paid $7.2 million for Alaska, equal to about $106 million now. For perspective, that’s roughly what the state government collected in royalties from oil produced on state-owned land in just the month of March 2009. To help mark 50 years of statehood, this publication first takes a broad look at what’s changed in Alaska since 1959. That’s on this page and the back page. We’ve also put together a timeline of political and economic events in Alaska from 1867 to the present. That’s on the inside pages. There’s an interactive version of the timeline—with photos, figures, and more—on ISER’s Web site: www.iser.uaa.alaska.edu.
    • BBNA Pebble Mine Technical Assistance Project - FInal Report (Volumes I-III)

      Sharp, Suzanne; Colt, Steve; Langdon, Steve; King, Meg (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 2006)
      This report summarizes and incorporates various materials prepared for the Bristol Bay Native Association (BBNA) under contractual agreement with the Institute o f Social and Economic Research (ISER) o f the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA). The project is known as the BBNA-UAA/ISER Pebble Mine Technical Assistance Project. The project period was September l, 2005 through November 30, 2006. The Pebble Mine Technical Assistance Project was funded by U.S. Department of Environmental Protection through the Indian General Assistance Program (!GAP) for Alaska Native tribes. The funding was provided to the Bristol Bay Native Association through an "unmet needs" grant designed to provide technical assistance to the Bristol Bay tribes and tribal members in addressing environmental quality and subsistence issues associated with the proposed Pebble Mine project. The proposed Pebble Mine would be located in the Kvichak River drainage, home of the world's most productive sockeye salmon fishery and possibly draw water from the Nushagak-Mulchatna River watershed as well. This proposed development raises major issues related to environmental quality o f the lands and waters customarily utilized by Bristol Bay tribes situated in the Kvichak and Nushagak-Mulchatna River drainages. Bristol Bay tribal members from local communities in the vicinity of the proposed Pebble Mine project make substantial subsistence use of natural resources in the area which sustain the nutritional, economic, social and cultural health of tribal members. The purpose of the project was to provide technical assistance to the tribes to allow them to fully comprehend the nature of the Pebble Mine project and its potential impacts on the environment and their subsistence uses, and to enhance their capacity to fully participate in the review and permitting process should permits to develop the Pebble Mine be sought. The purpose of participation is to insure that protection for the environment and subsistence uses that depend on a healthy and productive ecosystem are fully addressed in the project review process.
    • Benefit-Cost Assessment 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 and Costs to Rural Alaska Households from a Carbon Fee and Dividend Program

      Colt, Steve (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2015-06-22)
      This paper analyzes the benefits and costs of a carbon fee‐and‐dividend (CFD) policy to individual rural Alaska households. The three study area regions are the Bethel Census Area, the Wade Hampton Census Area, and the Northwest Arctic Borough. These three regions have the state’s highest fuel prices and very cold climates. The CFD policy consists of two elements.  The first is a fee of $15 per metric ton of CO2 beginning in 2016 and increasing by $10 per ton in each subsequent year. The second is the complete return of all fees to households in the form of dividends, which are estimated to equal $300 for each adult plus $150 for each child (up to two). The annual dividends would increase in future years commensurate with the total amount of fees.
    • Benefits and Costs to Rural Alaska Households from a Carbon Fee and Dividend Program - Final Report

      Colt, Steve (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2015-08-01)
      This paper analyzes the benefits and costs of a carbon fee‐and‐dividend (CFD) policy to individual rural Alaska households. The three study area regions are the Bethel Census Area, the Kusilvak Census Area, and the Northwest Arctic Borough. These three regions have the state’s highest fuel prices and very cold climates. The CFD policy consists of two elements.  The first is a fee of $15 per metric ton of CO2 beginning in 2016 and increasing by $10 per ton in each subsequent year. The second is the complete return of all fees to households in the form of dividends, which are estimated to equal $300 for each adult plus $150 for each child (up to two). The annual dividends would increase in future years commensurate with the nationwide total amount of fees. Baseline conditions.  The study area has a total population of about 32,000 people, many of whom live in large households with low cash income. Fuel prices averaged $6.62 per gallon in January 2015.
    • 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.
    • Comments on the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act and Lieberman-Warner proposed legislation

      Colt, Steve (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2008-04-11)
      The Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act (hereafter LW or “the Act”) aims to cover 87% of total U.S. greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.2 It aims to reduce the emissions of those gases by 4% below year 2005 levels in 2012 and by 17% below 2005 levels in 2020. The Act would impose a cap-and-trade mechanism on most energy-using activities. The number of emissions allowances would be limited in order to keep total emissions in each year below the predetermined cap. The interaction of buyers and sellers of emissions allowances would determine a market price per ton of CO2 equivalent. The Act allows emitters to trade, save, and borrow allowances, so that the most cost-effective GHG emissions reductions can be made where and when they are available. The American Council for Capital Formation and the National Association of Manufacturers (ACCF/NAM) recently issued a report3 that projects some of the economic effects of implementing LW. Both effects on the U.S. economy and effects on individual states are projected. The analysis was conducted by Science Applications International Corporation using the National Energy Modeling System (NEMS). NEMS is a set of interlinked computer models that project energy supply and demand and key macroeconomic outcomes such as gross domestic product and employment. Many assumptions are required as inputs into NEMS. The assumptions driving the ACCF/NAM results were provided by ACCF and NAM. They were not chosen by the consultants who ran the model. Two sets of assumptions were used to generate two set of projections: a “Low Cost” scenario and a “High Cost” scenario.
    • 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.
    • The Contribution of ANILCA to Alaska's Economy

      Colt, Steve (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 2005)
      This paper presents an assessment of the economic contribution of ANILCA and ANILCA-protected ecosystems to Alaska’s economy. I consider the links between the conservation units designated by the Act and a healthy Alaska economy. The paper consists largely of synthesis and application of existing data and research. It does not consider global ecosystem services or other values that are not currently captured within the Alaska economy. ANILCA was a one-time “natural experiment.” It is not possible, therefore, to observe how the Alaska economy would have evolved absent ANILCA. This makes it difficult if not impossible to say that the Act itself “caused” much of anything. Instead, the best we can do is to say that the data are consistent – or inconsistent -- with certain broad hypotheses and conclusions.
    • Cost Analysis of Selected Flush Haul Water and Wastewater Systems in Rural Alaska

      Colt, Steve (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 2000)
      This research memorandum presents and compares estimates of the operating costs of selected flush haul sanitation systems in rural Alaska. The estimates are based on actual operating experience. An accurate picture of operating costs is important when evaluating flush haul systems because communities are generally responsible for paying these costs. People need to know these costs in advance when choosing among alternative systems.In previous work (Colt 1994) I estimated life-cycle costs for prospective flush haul systems in Buckland and Mekoryuk. These systems have now been operating for several years. In addition, flush haul systems have recently been installed in Galena, Napakiak, Nunapitchuk, Quinhagak, Shishmaref, and Tuntutuliak. As part of the Alaska Native Health Board Operation and Maintenance Demonstration Project, we collected operating data from the communities of Buckland, Galena, and Nunapitchuk. Additional data for systems in Mekoryuk, Quinhagak, and Tuntutuliak has been collected by others (Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation 1998). This paper therefore considers the six communities listed above. This work was undertaken with the assistance and contributions of the Alaska Native Health Board Operation & Maintenance Demonstration Project.
    • The Cost of Crime: Could The State Reduce Future Crime and Save Money by Expanding Education and Treatment Programs ?

      Martin, Stephanie; Colt, Steve (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2009-01)
      Alaska’s prison population is among the fastest-growing in the U.S., with five times more inmates in 2007 than in 1981. Spending for the state justice system has nearly doubled since 1981—but the crime rate has dropped only about 30%. Here’s the dilemma for the state, given the pattern shown in Figure 1: what can it do to hold down the number of inmates and stem the rising costs—while at the same time keeping the public safe and using tax dollars effectively? Senator Hollis French asked ISER to project growth in the number of Alaska inmates and the associated costs—and then evaluate whether the state could reduce that growth by expanding intervention and prevention programs for people already in prison or at risk of ending up there. Alaska currently spends about $17 million a year for such programs, but they aren’t available to many of those who might benefit from them.
    • Data Survey and Sampling Procedures to Quantify Recreation Use of National Forests in Alaska

      Fay, Ginny; Colt, Steve; White, Eric (U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station, 2010)
      Estimating visitor numbers and collecting information on visitor attitudes in Alaska national forests is especially challenging because of the dispersed access to the forests by a relatively small number of visitors. The Tongass and Chugach National Forests are each millions of acres with miles of saltwater coastline and numerous lakes that allow almost infinite boat and float plane access points. This study identified a number of methods used by land managers in Alaska and other states to address dispersed recreational access as well as other ongoing data collection processes in Alaska, such as sport fish angler surveys, traveler surveys, and other systematic efforts that generate visitor data. These data may be useful for USDA Forest Service efforts to improve their visitor use monitoring processes.
    • 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 Analysis of an Integrated Wind-Hydrogen Energy System for a Small Alaska Community

      Colt, Steve; Gilbert, Steve (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2008-12)
      Wind-hydrogen systems provide one way to store intermittent wind energy as hydrogen. We explored the hypothesis that an integrated wind-hydrogen system supplying electricity, heat, and transportation fuel could serve the needs of an isolated (off-grid) Alaska community at a lower cost than a collection of separate systems. Analysis indicates that: 1) Combustible Hydrogen could be produced with current technologies for direct use as a transportation fuel for about $15/gallon-equivalent; 2) The capital cost of the wind energy rather than the capital cost of electrolyzers dominates this high cost; and 3) There do not appear to be diseconomies of small scale for current electrolyzers serving a a village of 400 people.