[9/8/23 Update – as predicted talk among legislators and utility leaders is already suggesting incentives to Hillcorp and higher prices.. this playbook by Hillcorp was obvious a year ago. It worked the last time they cried “out of gas” – why would they not use the same playbook again!? Read more in the Northern Journal article linked below. ]
Recent articles discussing a looming natural gas shortage in Alaska’s South Central region seem aimed at preparing consumers for higher energy costs. This rhetoric misses a vital opportunity to discuss alternatives to maintain or even decrease these costs while also reducing our climate impact and enabling economic growth.
The emphasis on rising costs in these articles inadvertently positions Alaskans as lambs being led to slaughter, primed to accept higher bills without question. But, as we consider new investments in gas supply, why not turn our focus to long-term, sustainable, and renewable sources of power instead?
If paying more in the future is necessary under any of the scenarios, I’d gladly pay the increase or even a premium to invest in the future clean energy the next generation needs rather than satisfying the current energy infrastructure players and an obsolete approach.
Making the current dialog even less productive is failing to address the potential for economic revitalization in Alaska. In the past four decades, our region has doubled in population, and our energy solutions should reflect future growth, not merely to meet our present needs. More boldly, we could also be investing in creating the technology and building the companies, and jobs, that create this new local energy supply, and export the solutions!
For instance, the current discussion keeps ignoring a significant point: the projected power supply for the Donlin mine from a new 14” natural gas pipeline extending from the mine to Cook Inlet. Where is the plan that links and leverages this demand and its associated capital investment?
Image an investment in energy to meet that demand, reducing our cost of local infrastructure, and launching an electrified and hydrogen powered mine rather than another that will need to be upgraded in the future.
Our focus should be on creating the conditions for economic growth and community sustainability with clean energy and lower energy costs, not conditioning residents to expect and accept higher costs without investing in the energy systems our next generation will need.
September 11, 2023 Amid natural gas crunch, an Alaska utility asks to resurrect in-state gas pipeline by Nathaniel Herz.
September 8, 2023 Interesting stuff: natural gas incentives… by Nathaniel Herz. (I told you this would happen… here it is, talk of incentives- Ky)