The Alaska Center for Energy and Power is looking for utility student interns for spring and summer 2020. Students in the program will gain hands-on experience with utilities around Alaska, learn about the challenges of integrating renewable energy sources into a grid, and become versed in microgrids and associated technologies.
The ACEP utility summer internship program consists of a spring semester lecture series, a five-day microgrid boot camp and a 12-week internship during the summer semester.
Launch Alaska has announced the four companies to participate in its 2018 business accelerator in Anchorage, AK. Four energy companies will complete a four month intensive program and receive mentorship, business training, business services, and $75,000 in exchange for equity in their companies.
With the highest cost of electricity and some of the highest per-capita energy consumption in the U.S., Alaska is hungry for energy innovation because of the out-sized impact that energy costs have on residents’ pocketbooks. Participation in the cohort provides a unique opportunity for a company to test its technology in remote and harsh conditions.
Read about the 2018 Launch Alaska Cohort Participants here.
Oil prices are still low, at least compared with three years ago, but Alaskans are pressing ahead with renewable energy projects to reduce dependence on fuel oil for power generation and, in some cases, space heating.
Alaska Village Electric Cooperative, which operates small utilities in 56 rural villages, has been aggressive in building wind generation and, more recently, linking projects to boilers and hot water loops to use surplus wind power for space heating.
AVEC now has 11 wind projects, operating 34 turbines, that serve 15 villages. Some communities connect with interties, so that one wind project serves two or more communities, according to Forrest Button, AVEC’s manager for project development. The co-op is now investing in more wind capacity: in Bethel in 2018 and St. Mary in 2019, and in 2020 at St. Michael and Stebbins, where one project will serve both villages, Button told Commonwealth North, an Anchorage-based business group, in a briefing on renewable energy.
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.
When it comes to emerging energy technologies, many remote Alaska communities are on the cutting edge. That was the message from Cordova this spring, where U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski held a field hearing of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, which she chairs.
The focus of the hearing was microgrids: self-contained electrical grids, which can operate unconnected to any larger transmission system. They’re a necessity for just about every Alaska community off the road system. Most of the grids are powered by diesel, but more and more communities are trying to cut costs by adding renewables like wind or expanding hydropower.
In the process, the state has become a testing ground for technologies that are increasingly interesting to the rest of the world.