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Energy project leaders advance sustainability in Western Alaska

Wind farm, Nome
Wind turbines sit atop rolling hills north of Nome, Alaska. Photo by Jenn Ruckel.

Energy innovation leaders in collaboration with Kawerak discussed projects underway for advancing the energy options. This Energy Summit explored ways for rural communities in Western Alaska to find self-sufficient and sustainable options for energy and power.

The energy summit met online on Aug. 24 and 25. Several leaders of energy projects for the region discussed their work within their communities.

“Even here in Nome just to look out and see the wind turbines up there going it’s just something showing that this region has been very forward thinking,” Kawerak Energy Development Specialist Tatiana Askoak said.

Typical wind turbine is capable of producing 402,000 kilowatt-hours per month, according to the United States Geological Survey. An average Alaska household uses between 333 and 500 kWh per month. That’s an average of 964 household’s energy needs supported by one wind turbine. Nome currently has 18 units outside of town.

Kawerak Executive Vice President Mary David emphasized the significance of identifying options for creating energy within the area.

 “The cost of energy in our region is so high, the cost to build is so high, that you know we really need to look at ways to reduce these costs in our homes and in our work environments,” David said.

Regional options will lower average expenses in energy, David said.

The advancement of energy options in the region are not as complicated as one might think. Even something as simple as changing out older models of lightbulbs for newer more efficient ones makes a difference. The options are out there, they just need to be brought to the region and implemented, said Askoak.

That ties in to Kawerak’s goals for progressing the region.

“These are some of the three goals that we have been working on the past year, energy leadership team development, identify and support projects and opportunities for communities and enhance energy education and training,” Askoak said.

With these goals in mind, Kawerak hopes to be a leader in energy advancement for the region.

Image at top: Wind Farm outside of Nome. Photo taken by Jenn Ruckel, KNOM.

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