Alaskan microgrids ‘cutting costs and boosting resilience’

Remote villages in Alaska are proving how renewable microgrids can cut costs and boost resilience. That’s according to a new report from researchers at the Alaska Center for Energy and […]

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By Jonny Bairstow

Remote villages in Alaska are proving how renewable microgrids can cut costs and boost resilience.

That’s according to a new report from researchers at the Alaska Center for Energy and Power, which says the region’s terrain makes it difficult and cost prohibitive to establish a large-scale electrical grid.

Instead, a network of small, local power stations operating autonomously can produce up to 2MW of electricity for remote communities and reduce the cost of shipping expensive diesel fuel for power.

The group says even in areas above the Arctic Circle, where night can last for weeks at certain times of the year, communities harness seasonal renewable resources by switching between solar power during summer months and wind power during winter.

The researchers say they hope microgrids will become a more common power source for smaller remote communities around the globe.

Erin Whitney, Project Researcher, said: “Some communities are so remote that they can only get fuel delivered once or twice a year when the ice melts and a barge can move up the river. This situation translates into some of the highest energy costs in the nation.”

She added microgrids mean the cost of power can be kept lower and more stable.