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The challenges of tapping into geothermal in Alaska

Fishing boats at Naknek, Alaska (source: flickr/ echoforsberg, creative commons)
Francisco Rojas 26 Nov 2014

Alaskans pay twice as much for electricity compared to the rest of the country. In rural areas, it can cost three times as much. The state is looking to reduce the costs thanks to geothermal energy.

Alaska suffers from a harsh climate, that’s a fact but its population also suffers from high electricity costs. Due to a sparsely populated territory and a high dependency on fossil fuels for electricity generation, the costs are much higher than any other US state.

According to local news, “Alaskans pay twice as much for electricity compared to the rest of the country. In rural areas, it can cost three times as much. The state is looking to stabilize some of those costs with the help of renewable energy, such as geothermal energy.”

Sean Skaling from the Alaska Energy Authority says that renewables are a better alternative since “in many cases, renewable energy is more cost effective than the existing infrastructure”

The same article exposes that “Alaska has four potential geothermal regions: the Interior Hot Springs; the Southeast Hot Springs; the Wrangell Mountains; and the “Ring of Fire” volcanoes, which includes the Aleutians, the Alaska Peninsula and Mount Edgecumbe. But pockets can be hard to find and expensive to develop, Skaling says.”

However, finding a location that is close to populated areas, plentiful and easy to develop can be challenging. Other areas such as Pilgrim Hot Springs near Nome are a potential area to develop geothermal and there is currently a project to study if it would be viable to build a power plant there.

To read the full article, please follow the link below.

Source: KTVA Alaska