Energy project in southeast Alaska village under way

From Capital City Weekly, Monday, August 9, 2010:

Residents of Juneau concerned with an increase in their monthly utility bills might find it easy to forget that in some Southeast communities, energy woes have been a constant issue for years. Rural areas like Angoon, heavily dependent on fossil fuels, face energy prices as high as ten times the national average. A new project, headed by the Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska, aims to change that.

Dan Lesh, energy coordinator for the Southeast Alaska Conservation Council, said the goal of the sustainability project is to show how efficiency and renewability can cut energy costs in rural villages.

Lesh said the cost of energy is exceptionally high in Angoon. The upper limit can be as high as $1,200 per month for a single household, he said, with the average cost in the $300 to $500 range.

“It’s one of the biggest issues in these small communities,” Lesh said.