Infrastructure bill to fund renewables and geothermal in Alaska

Infrastructure bill to fund renewables and geothermal in Alaska Akutan Harbor, Aleutians, Alaska (source: flickr/ PoweredbyLycoming, creative commons)
Alexander Richter 12 Aug 2021

The State of Alaska is set to gain from funding made available through the passed U.S. Infrastructure Package with opportunities for geothermal as part of renewable energy development in the state.

This week, the U.S. Senate passed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, bipartisan legislation which provides investments for core infrastructure—roads, bridges, rail, transit, ports, airports, energy, water systems, and broadband in the United States. The bill provides $550 billion in new spending over five years, without raising taxes, targeting to grow the U.S.’s economy, create jobs, and push against inflation. In a statement on her website, U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) reported having worked with a bipartisan group of ten Senators, for months to negotiate, craft, and finalize the bill package.

In her statement she points to the funding made available for Alaska for the different segments, such as road and infrastructure, airports etc., but also energy and natural resources.

The funding available to the State of Alaska Includes $264 million in funding for geothermal, wind, and solar energy projects. This will help the deployment and expansion of renewable energy resources in Alaska. It also should help remove barriers to participation by Alaska Native and Indian Tribes in programs that are part of the bill’s Energy Infrastructure Act. The funding further includes more than $4.7 billion for orphaned well cleanup, including Alaska’s legacy wells in the NPR-A.

With further funding made available for grid infrastructure and resiliency, there should be opportunities for funding for geothermal projects in Alaska … and likely beyond across the U.S. for either high-temperature geothermal development or low-temp geothermal utilisation projects.

There currently is only one operating geothermal plant at Chena Hot Springs, and planned projects in Unalaska and at Mount Spurr. Clearly there is some awakening for geothermal in Alaska, hopefully the funding now announced can support this and be tapped by those developers.

Source: Office of Senator Murkowski