$2.4 Million Grant to Fund Study of Renewable Energy Impacts

A team of University of Alaska researchers has received a $2.4 million federal grant to study whether the use of renewable power could help small Alaska communities provide food, energy and safe water sustainably.

The National Science Foundation-funded project will study energy use and its impacts in the remote communities of Cordova, Tanana and Igiugig. Many off-road Alaska communities rely on expensive diesel generators for electricity, but interest is growing in alternate sources like wind, water and solar. Such alternative sources hold promise for supplying energy, and potentially food and water, but could affect the stability of a rural community’s microgrid.

Read the full article here.

Source: $2.4 million grant to fund study of renewable energy impacts – Alaska Business Magazine

University Sharpens Science of Firefighting in Alaska

Compared to past years, 2017 has been a fairly slow wildland fire season in Alaska, with 332 fires that burned 626,361 acres by Aug. 2. But more active summers—like those in 2004, 2005 and 2015 (when 6.5, 4.6 and 5.1 million acres burned, respectively) — are nonetheless in our future.

Alaskans know fire is a natural, inevitable part of the boreal forest ecosystem, and Alaska is fortunate in our ability to tolerate fires in unoccupied areas, reducing fuel loads and renewing vegetation. But we can’t allow all fires to burn unchecked.

Alaska’s fire managers work hard to balance fire suppression actions to protect life and property with fire’s long-term benefits to our landscapes.

As agency budgets shrink and fire seasons lengthen, the challenges managers face in implementing this strategy have grown, particularly in populated areas. University of Alaska Fairbanks researchers have been asked to help agencies increase their operational efficiency by strengthening the science supporting their decision-making.

As Division of Forestry Director Chris Maisch has observed, the UAF’s work is “making a real difference for the agencies working on wildland fire issues in the state.” Together, we are evaluating fuel treatment programs, improving predictions of fire weather and fire danger, and expanding the use of satellite information sources to help prepare for future fire seasons.

In populated areas, preparation includes reducing hazardous fuels near at-risk Alaska communities by cutting fuel breaks and encouraging homeowners to follow “firewise” guidelines.

Read the full article here.

Source: University sharpens science of firefighting in Alaska – Alaska Dispatch News

Putting Your Major to Work: Career Paths After College

CareerPathReportThe Hamilton Project seeks to advance America’s promise of opportunity, prosperity, and growth.

For most people, a college degree is helpful for flourishing in the labor market. College graduates earn more than workers with less education—on average, about $600,000 more over their lifetimes than workers with only a high school education. College graduates also have much lower levels of unemployment, enjoy better health, and have lower mortality rates.

However, not all college experiences have the same benefits. A previous Hamilton Project economic analysis documented important variation in earnings across college majors: for the median degree holder, cumulative lifetime earnings ranged from about $800,000 to roughly $2 million. At the high end of the earnings distribution are graduates who majored in fields emphasizing quantitative skills, such as engineering, computer science, economics, and finance. At the low end are graduates who majored in fields that emphasize working with children or providing counseling services, including early childhood education, elementary education, social work, and fine arts.

In this year’s economic analysis, Hamilton Project research examines how students’ career paths after college explain earnings variation within majors. Read their May 2017 Economic Analysis here.

Explore earning potential of various career paths here.

Source: Putting Your Major to Work: Career Paths after College | The Hamilton Project

Alaska Sea Grant Fellows Earn Job Placement

FAIRBANKS — The Alaska Sea Grant Fellows program placed five people with one-year jobs in state and federal agencies, according to a University of Alaska Fairbanks news release.

Chelsea Clawson, who is working toward a master’s in fisheries at UAF, will work at the U.S. Geological Survey.

Genevieve Johnson, in the same master’s program, has a job lined up at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Alaska Fisheries Science Center.

Liza Mack, an indigenous studies Ph.D. candidate at UAF, will have a position that was created jointly by the North Pacific Research Board and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Landscape.

Danielle Meeker, a graduate student studying climate science and policy at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, will take a job in the office of the Alaska Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott.

Kim Ovitz, a master’s student from the University of Maine, will work at the NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service.

The Alaska Sea Grant Fellows program matches qualified graduate students with jobs in federal and state agencies in Alaska for one-year positions.

Source: Alaska Sea Grant Fellows Earn Job Placement | Local Business | newsminer.com

Week of the Arctic Showcases UAF Energy Research

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.

Watch the news segment and read the full article here.

Source: Week of the Arctic showcases UAF Energy Research » KTVA 11