Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Alaska sees renewable energy as cheaper option

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin championed the cry of "drill baby drill," but she and her state are now looking at green energy to solve its rural energy crisis. "Alaska is fast becoming a testing ground for new technologies and an unlikely experiment in oil-state support for renewable energy," reports Stefan Milkowski of The Daily News-Miner in Faribanks,, for The New York Times. "Alaskans once cast a wary eye toward anything smacking of environmentalism, but today they are investing heavily in green power, not so much to reduce emissions as to save cash."

Energy prices have skyrocketed on the Alaskan tundra, partly because winter fuel contracts were signed at a time when prices were much higher than now. Residents are having to dedicate a huge percentage of their income to simply heat their homes. Increasingly it looks like a move away from fossil fuels could help stabilize energy prices for rural Alaskans.

"Advocates of renewable energy here say Alaska, with its windy coasts, untapped rivers and huge tidal and wave resources, could quickly become a national leader," writes Milkowski. "The state already generates 24 percent of its electricity from renewable sources — almost exclusively hydroelectric — and Ms. Palin last month announced a goal of 50 percent by 2025." (Read more)

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