We must remove harmful government regulations and unnecessary litigation, and begin to develop a comprehensive plan for Alaska’s energy future. Alaska’s energy and economic futures are mutually dependant, because cheap energy brings with it increased industry and jobs. However, in Alaska, we have significant challenges that many in the Lower 48 do not face such as transportation costs and the lack of a widespread electrical grid. Fortunately, Alaska has more energy potential than anywhere else in the U.S.
Our state is diverse, and a one-size-fits-all approach will not work, but certainly regional approaches to Alaska’s energy needs should be pursued. For example, Southeast should never have to burn another gallon of diesel fuel. With the immense hydro potential, we should focus our efforts on a Southeast intertie. Also, the Aleutians have tremendous wind and geothermal potential that has yet to be harnessed to its full potential. An in-state gas-line will allow North Slope gas to supplement Cook Inlet, and allow Anchorage to continue to grow, while also providing Fairbanks with the advantages of cheap natural gas that Anchorage has been solely enjoying for decades. In my view, critical to this plan is a mechanism to separate some natural gas, or a product of natural gas, such as propane, to be packaged in containers and barged to serve the needs of the villages in the Arctic-Yukon-Kuskokwim region. An incremental regional approach is going to be the key to Alaska’s energy future.
America is a country that was made great by optimism, growth, and innovation, and I believe Alaska’s energy problems will be solved in a similar manner.