Hundreds of delegates from around the world were in Fairbanks for the Arctic Interchange.
For researchers at the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF), the global spotlight is a chance to showcase their work on sustainable energy.
UAF research professor George Roe said right now the diesel generator is the backbone of villages around Alaska. He and his colleagues at the Alaska Center for Power and Energy (ACEP) want to change that.
“We’ve got wind, we’ve got solar,” Roe explained to a group of international journalists, as he showed them around the facility.
Engineers at ACEP can replicate wind streams, river currents and solar energy in the lab and test systems before they’re sent to rural Alaska.
Roe said renewable energy work being done in the Last Frontier can be applied all over the world.
“Alaska’s motto is: North to the future,” Roe said. “We’re required, almost mandated to share what we’re learning and to find opportunities to work with other people and learn from them as well.”
Roe points to Kodiak as a city leading the way in sustainability. Nearly 100 percent of the community’s energy needs are supplied by a combination of wind and water.
“It’s a huge knowledge export opportunity for the state. And in this time of economic diversification, taking this Alaskan know-how and sharing it with other remote communities,” Roe said.
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