Tag Archives: Energy Crisis

Criticism mounts for call to truck liquefied natural gas to Fairbanks

From The Fairbanks Daily Newsminer, Thursday, July 29, 2010:

A plan to transfer Fairbanks Natural Gas LLC from private to public ownership and truck liquefied natural gas to Fairbanks from the North Slope is doomed, according to an Alaska Gasline Port Authority board member.

Board member Merrick Peirce wrote in an e-mail that the assumption behind the $250 million business deal — that crude oil prices will continue to rise — is flawed because more crude oil production is coming online in Iraq, increasing the world’s supply.

In interviews, other port authority board members defended the plan and refuted Peirce’s claims. They said the proposal, to be financed with bonds, provides the best possibility of quickly lowering energy prices in Fairbanks.

Decades of talk about building a natural gas pipeline have yet to produce results. “We have not given up on the pipeline,” said Dave Cobb, Valdez Councilman and vice chairman of the port authority governing board. “That is still our No. 1 priority, but you have to do something in the interim.”

The port authority is a partnership between the Fairbanks borough and the city of Valdez that was created to build a gas pipeline to Valdez. Peirce offered his criticism in an e-mail to the Fairbanks North Star Borough Assembly, which tonight considers a resolution to accept the authority’s proposed purchase of Fairbanks Natural Gas. The assembly also will consider an ordinance that would require a public vote to broaden the port authority’s mission statement before it goes ahead with the trucking plan.

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Report: Wood, wind could help meet rural Alaska energy needs

From The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Saturday, May 1, 2010:

Fort Yukon could turn to wood-fired power to ease its reliance on diesel fuel. Tanana could install wind turbines and start using half as much fuel within a few years.

The Alaska Energy Authority published those scenarios and about 200 more, including cost estimates, this week. The report comes less than a month after the Legislature set, as official state policy, the target of using wind turbines, hydroelectric dams and other renewable projects for at least half Alaska’s electricity by 2025.

“This gives you the pathway to get there,” said Steve Haagenson, director of the authority.

The agency released the report, an “energy pathway,” to coincide with a three-day rural energy conference in Fairbanks that ended Thursday.

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Hensley: Do-it-yourself rural energy is needed

From The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Tuesday, April 27, 2010:

Willie Hensley said this morning that Alaska, particularly its energy-starved rural communities, should think about bracing for tough times.

Oil development and federal financial aid have left Alaska with great per capita wealth. They’ve declined in recent years, and Hensley, an icon in modern Alaska Native history, told an energy conference that Alaskans should “reconfigure our value system” to escape from dependence on aid and major development projects.

Such federal support, Hensley told roughly 400 people at the downtown Westmark Fairbanks Hotel, once meant major subsidies for power plants so villages could electrify their homes and public buildings. But Hensley said he expects Alaska may need to rely more on ingenuity and resourcefulness if it expects future improvements to the quality of life here.

“It has been nothing short of phenomenal to see the kinds of programs and services and facilities and infrastructure that we now enjoy,” Hensley said. “The big question is, is it sustainable?”

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War over the Arctic? Climate skeptics distracting us

From Alaska Dispatch, Wednesday, March 3, 2010:

Skepticism about climate change is going mainstream, and that is worrying. One-third of Americans now say global warming doesn’t exist — triple the percentage of three years ago.

This defiance of science isn’t just harmful for the environment. It’s also distracting us from growing threats to US national security. Actual — not theoretical — effects of climate change are turning the Arctic into a potential military flash point.Expected melting of summer sea ice in the Arctic Ocean means greatly expanded access to increasingly scarce fossil fuels. It also means tensions over Arctic real estate. What the Middle East was to the second half of the 20th century, the Arctic could be to the first half of the 21st. Because America has been so slow to wake up to climate change, it’s lagging behind in protecting its Arctic interests.

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New housing design gets Quinhagak approval

From The Tundra Drums, Wednesday, February 17, 2010:

Houses in Quinhagak battered by decades of fierce wet winds might soon be replaced by a new model that hearkens back to traditional Native sod houses.

At a meeting last week, village leaders in the Southwest Alaska community accepted a preliminary plan for an energy-efficient home that could be a prototype for other houses in the village.

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Bills aim to foster geothermal power

From Alaska Dispatch, Thursday, February 11, 2010:

In terms of punctuation marks, Railbelt natural gas supplies are a bit of question mark, and fuel prices in the Bush are a big exclamation point. So, it’s safe to assume Alaska’s electricity producers and consumers would appreciate a little stability. At least one company wants to transform Alaska’s geothermal resource into a reliable source of electricity, and is hoping for a way around an oddball state law that taxes hot water pulled from state land.

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President Touts His Alternative Fuels Plan

From The New York Times, Wednesday, Februrary 3, 2010:

President Obama moved on Wednesday to bolster the nation’s production of corn-based ethanol and other alternative liquid fuels and ordered the rapid development of technology to capture carbon dioxide emissions from the burning of coal.

The president is trying to expand the portfolio of American energy sources to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, a factor in global warming, and spur advances in alternative technologies. Last week he expressed support in his State of the Union address for increased generation of nuclear power and offshore drilling for oil and gas.

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Young: Alaska fuel tax freeze would undercut federal aid

From The Associated Press, Wednesday, January 27, 2010:

A proposal by Gov. Sean Parnell to suspend Alaska’s motor fuels tax may undermine federal transportation funding, U.S. Rep. Don Young said Tuesday.

In a statement, the Republican lawmaker commended Parnell, also a Republican, for trying to relieve Alaskans’ “pain at the pump.” But he added: “By suspending the state gas tax, the challenge will be greater in convincing other members that Congress should continue its investment in Alaska’s infrastructure.”

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Wood-burning blamed for poor air in Fairbanks

From The Associated Press, Wednesday, January 13, 2010:

On winter days when the air is still and Fairbanks area residents fire up their wood stoves and outdoor boilers, Alaska’s second largest city becomes entombed in a shroud of pollution.

The problem is due in part to wood stoves and outdoor boilers that belch out small particles, forcing residents to breathe some of the unhealthiest air in the nation. The borough’s air problem can become acute during a temperature inversion, when cold air near the ground is trapped by warmer air on top.

“It traps everything near the ground,” said Glenn Miller, transportation director for the Fairbanks North Star Borough who oversees air quality.

The state’s lack of affordable heat has forced residents to pay $5,000 to $10,000 to heat their homes, so many turned to the old standby – wood heat.

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