• Alaska Fuel Price Projections 2011-2030

      Schwoerer, Tobias; Saylor, Ben; Fay, Ginny (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2011)
      This report and supporting spreadsheet outline Low, Medium, and High case fuel price projections for the years 2011-2030 for natural gas in Southcentral Alaska delivered to a utility-scale customer, diesel delivered to a PCE community utility tank, diesel delivered to a home in a PCE community, home heating oil purchased in Anchorage, Fairbanks, Juneau, Kenai, Ketchikan, Palmer, and Wasilla. The report provides documentation of the assumptions and methods that are used, while a companion Excel workbook contains the detailed projections.
    • Alaska Isolated Wind-Diesel Systems Performance and Economic Analysis

      Fay, Ginny; Schwoerer, Tobias; Keith, Katherine (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2010)
      Most remote rural communities in Alaska use diesel to generate electricity, but the high price of diesel is causing an increasing number to add a local power source that’s also renewable—wind. Our analysis is preliminary; most existing systems are new. Adding wind to diesel systems makes economic sense to customers if wind energy costs less than the equivalent energy cost of diesel. Our review of project histories did reveal some potential ways of improving the economics and performance of rural wind-diesel systems. Those include geographically and technologically aggregating projects to take advantage of economies of scale; employing skilled project developers who use technological innovations to increase wind-energy generation; having clear power-purchase agreements; having skilled and motivated local operators; establishing remote monitoring to alert project managers about problems and record maintenance and performance data; and hiring people with expertise in Alaska’s harsh climate.
    • Chapter 6: Vegetation

      Berman, Matthew; DeVelice, Robert; Hollingsworth, Teresa Nettleton; Bella, Elizabeth; Carlson, Matthew L.; Clark, Paul; Barrett, Tara; Hayward, Gregory D.; Lundquist, John; Magness, Dawn Robin; et al. (U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station, 2016)
      This assessment evaluates the effects of future climate change on a select set of ecological systems and ecosystem services in Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula and Chugach National Forest regions. The focus of the assessment was established during a multi-agency/organization workshop that established the goal to conduct a rigorous evaluation of a limited range of topics rather than produce a broad overview. The report explores the potential consequences of climate change for: (a) snowpack, glaciers, and winter recreation; (b) coastal landscapes and associated environments, (c) vegetation, (d) salmon, and (e) a select set of wildlife species. During the next half century, directional change associated with warming temperatures and increased precipitation will result in dramatic reductions in snow cover at low elevations, continued retreat of glaciers, substantial changes in the hydrologic regime for an estimated 8.5 percent of watersheds, and potentially an increase in the abundance of pink salmon. In contrast to some portions of the Earth, apparent sealevel rise is likely to be low for much of the assessment region owing to interactions between tectonic processes and sea conditions. Shrubs and forests are projected to continue moving to higher elevations, reducing the extent of alpine tundra and potentially further affecting snow levels. Opportunities for alternative forms of outdoor recreation and subsistence activities that include sled-dog mushing, hiking, hunting, and travel using across-snow vehicles will change as snowpack levels, frozen soils, and vegetation change over time. There was a projected 66-percent increase in the estimated value of human structures (e.g. homes, businesses) that are at risk to fire in the next half century on the Kenai Peninsula, and a potential expansion of invasive plants, particularly along roads, trails, and waterways.
    • Hitchhikers on floats to Arctic freshwater: Private aviation and recreation loss from aquatic invasion

      Schwoerer, Tobias; Little, Joseph; Schmidt, Jennifer; Borash, Kyle (Springer Netherlands, 2019)
      This study of aviation-related recreation loss shows that a survey primarily aimed at collecting information on invasive species’ pathways can also be used to estimate changes in pathway-related ecosystem services. We present a case study for Elodea spp. (elodea), Alaska’s first known aquatic invasive plant, by combining respondents’ stated pre-invasion actual flights with stated post-invasion contingent behavior, plane operating costs, and site quality data. We asked pilots about the extent of continued flights should destinations become invaded and inhibit flight safety. We estimate a recreation demand model where the lost trip value to the average floatplane pilot whose destination is an elodea-invaded lake is US$185 (95 % CI $157, $211). Estimates of ecosystem damages incurred by private actors responsible for transmitting invaders can nudge actors to change behavior and inform adaptive ecosystem management. The policy and modeling implications of quantifying such damages and integration into more complex models are discussed.
    • 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.
    • Sustainable Economic Development for the Prince William Sound Region

      Fay, Ginny; Colt, Steve; Schwoerer, Tobias (National Wildlife Federation (Alaska Office), 2005)
      The Prince William Sound area possesses an array of the attractions that draw people to visit and live in Alaska: dramatic peaks and glaciers, an intricate coastline, old growth rainforest, alpine meadows, abundant wildlife, and distinct small towns and villages. It offers a valuable combination of accessibility and wilderness solitude. The area has many of the resources and products needed to position itself as a premier destination for the adventure, cultural, educational and ecotourism market segments. A key challenge for the region is to capture these economic opportunities while maintaining control over residents’ economic future and quality of life. The goals of this project are to: • Identify opportunities and challenges to diversify and grow the Prince William Sound economy while improving the quality of life for Prince William Sound residents and maintaining the exceptional natural environment. • Help foster and strengthen partnerships for economic development. • Consider new pathways to a prosperous economic future.