Alaska has long been synonymous with pristine wilderness and rich natural resources. However, with the looming threat of climate change, industrial development in the state is coming under increased scrutiny. As such, the need to decarbonize Alaska’s industrial sector should be gaining more prominence. Building on my last post about Alaska Native Corporation based innovation and economic development, the following offered a response to today’s ADN article about opposition to the Donlin gold mine.
With the growing demand for decarbonization and development of renewable energy, Alaska has a unique opportunity to lead the way in decarbonizing industrial development.
New projects like Willow and Donlin have the potential to set the standard (high or low) for impact and sustainable operation for decades to come. By progressing towards ecological responsibility and sustainability, these projects could address ecological criticism and help capitalize a more sustainable future for Alaska. One way to achieve this is by replacing the planned natural gas pipeline with clean (blue or green hydrogen) ammonia for powering the Donlin Gold Mine. (And, is anyone else curious about where the gas will come from in light of the news that Cook Inlet reserves will not support current demand in a few years?)
The creation of a pipeline for ammonia can allow the use of hydrogen and electricity to power the mine, starting with blue ammonia from Nikiski and the Kenai CCUS basin or the Mighty Pipeline supply of blue ammonia from the north slope. This infrastructure investment would pave the way for large-scale renewable energy projects like geothermal, wind, and tidal energy supplying future proof new supplies of green hydrogen and ammonia, making it a crucial step towards reducing carbon emissions and establishing a sustainable future.
With the potential to become the anchor of complete decarbonization of the Cook Inlet, could CIRI with their wind energy experience be positioned to lead this initiative?
By relying on abundant natural energy, a decarbonized power system for Donlin and the Cook Inlet can create a sustainable future for Alaska that is in line with the state’s needed action to reducing the cost of energy and necessary but lagging commitment to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions. ANC-based innovation can be the driving force behind this transformation, making it a story of innovation, sustainability, and progress.
In conclusion, decarbonizing Alaska’s industrial sector is crucial for the state’s sustainable future. ANC-based innovation, with its approach of relying on natural energy and building multigenerational solutions, can transform industrial development while reducing carbon emissions. By embracing decarbonization, Alaska can pioneer a sustainable future and inspire others to follow in its footsteps.