Alaska June Economic Trends

In June Trends: This month we look at the oil industry’s history of employment swings and how this current round of losses differs. This issue includes an update on COVID-19-related job losses based on the first available detailed data, and on who received unemployment benefits in April as a result.

Source: Department of Labor and Workforce Development

Virtual Microgrid Boot Camp prepares students for utility internships

ACEP’s Jeremy Vandermeer simulates solar energy integrated into microgrid for 2019 boot camp participants. Photo by Amanda Byrd.

The second Microgrid Boot Camp is wrapping up this week. Previously a hands-on learning experience at Alaska Center for Energy and Power facilities in Fairbanks, the boot camp this year is held in an online format due to coronavirus restrictions. It remains a collaboration between ACEP and the Laboratory for Energy And Power Solutions at Arizona State University.

The course was originally developed by LEAPS as part of the Naval Enterprise Partnership Teaming with Universities for National Excellence program, an energy research project funded by the U.S. Department of Defense, to break new ground in alternative energy employment for student veterans.

The intensive five-day training focuses on technical, economic and regulatory basics of microgrids, with an emphasis on Alaska energy challenges. Camp participants earn one credit through the UAF Bristol Bay Campus and are primarily University of Alaska undergraduate students who have been selected for the ACEP Utility Student Internship program.

This year the camp expanded to a full capacity of 16 participants: nine UA undergrad students, four students from out of state and three participants from a regional tribal consortium. ACEP intends to continue expanding the reach of the course in the future to utility members, city and tribal councils, housing authorities, trade schools and programs, and utility industry personnel.

ACEP researchers, ASU collaborators and Alaska energy experts are engaging with the participants and sharing their expertise via sessions such as microgrid design activities, virtual Power Systems Integration Lab tour and demonstration, and Alaska Energy Authority powerhouse tours.  There will be a group collaboration project on electric vehicles and an energy audit activity, among other presentations, and virtual hands-on learning activities.

The boot camp outfits participants with the knowledge and skills to prime them for online-based summer internship project work with remote and railbelt utilities, many of which have started the process of integrating renewable and alternative energy sources into their grids.

The Microgrid Boot Camp is funded by a grant from the Office of Naval Research.

For more information on the ACEP Microgrid Boot Camp, please contact Heike Merkel.

Source: Virtual Microgrid Boot Camp prepares students for utility internships – UAF Cornerstone

Sikuliaq to embark on limited research cruise in May

Photo by Sarah Spanos The research vessel Sikuliaq, here in Seward, Alaska, will depart May 4.

Scientific operations will resume on the research vessel Sikuliaq for one week beginning May 4, preserving an unbroken string of 22 years of ecological data collection.

Special permission has been granted for a small team of researchers from the College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences at the University of Alaska Fairbanks to collect water samples in the northern Gulf of Alaska.

This will mark the first time a vessel in the U.S. Academic Research Fleet has been allowed to engage in research activities since COVID-19 grounded the fleet, which is coordinated by the University-National Oceanographic Laboratory System.

The scientists self-quarantined for two weeks prior to boarding the vessel, and are adhering to health mandates while conducting their research.

Rose Dufour, ship operations program director at the National Science Foundation, said, “NSF recognizes the difficult decision to move forward with science operations in these uncertain times, but we feel UAF has done an excellent job in assessing and mitigating the risks.”

UAF operates the Sikuliaq on behalf of NSF, which owns the vessel.

Source: Sikuliaq to embark on limited research cruise in May – UAF Cornerstone

Building community, contribution and care in the time of COVID

Jim Johnsen

The University of Alaska has demonstrated resilience and resolve over many years and across many challenging issues. Alaskans support the university in helping our students, employing our graduates, providing generous contributions, and offering their time and expertise on advisory and governing boards. This partnership with our state is highlighted by how the university is giving back to help our communities and our state during the COVID-19 pandemic.

I continue to be impressed by how our faculty, students, and staff collaborate, support one another, and conduct innovative and meaningful work. I am proud to be a part of a university system that serves our communities and our state as we work daily to build a stronger, more resilient Alaska. I believe it is UA’s responsibility to examine both current and far-reaching impacts of the current crisis and to help identify solutions.

Read the full article here.

Source: Building community, contribution and care in the time of COVID – Anchorage Press