The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Indian Energy has released a report titled “Solar Energy Prospecting in Remote Alaska: An Economic Analysis of Solar Photovoltaics in the Last Frontier State.”
The analysis, conducted by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, focuses on two of the most pressing issues for remote Indian Alaska – reducing or stabilizing the unsustainably high cost of diesel generation, and providing reliable and resilient energy in areas that lack infrastructure.
The DOE says the report finds that significant potential exists for strategically deployed solar photovoltaic systems in remote Arctic villages and communities. In fact, the solar resource in some regions of Alaska “is at least comparable, if not favorable, to that of Germany, which leads the world in solar PV installations.”
The full report is available here.
In addition, the DOE has announced the availability of up to $7 million to establish a technical assistance regional energy providers’ network to Indian tribes and Alaska Native communities. Participants will be chosen through a competitive process and will receive five weeks of training through the DOE’s national labs and other entities, giving tribal communities and Alaska Native villages the knowledge, skills and resources needed to implement successful strategic energy solutions.
The DOE says it recognizes that in many remote Alaska Native villages, the high cost of energy and the logistical challenges associated with transporting diesel and heating oil to remote villages can be an economic and environmental burden. Since 2002, the department has invested over $15 million in nearly 200 tribal projects through grants and technical assistance for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects that aim to address many of these cost issues.