During the interview, Merkel spoke about the internship, which takes applications from engineering, computer science and economics students enrolled at any University of Alaska institution.
Last year, eight student interns were paired with utilities and energy entities around the state. Several students continued on projects with ACEP afterward, and one intern gained full-time employment with the internship utility.
This year, students can receive up to four credits during their internships.
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.