February Energy Newsletter
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Energy Stakeholders,

You're invited to join us in Anchorage at our Energy Workshop on Tuesday, Feb. 28 before the Annual SWAMC Conference! The day will start with an "energy mixer." This is a great opportunity to talk to an energy expert face-to-face about your community’s desired renewable energy or efficiency projects, or to discuss solutions to roadblocks you have hit along the way.

In the afternoon, the Southwest AK Energy Committee will meet for a round-table energy discussion with representatives from all regions. The new SW Energy team – Regional Energy Coordinators Bruce Wright, APIA; Stephanie Aikins, BBNA; and Tyler Kornelis, KANA – will be able  to meet and hear from you directly on energy priorities and projects.

The Energy Workshop is free and lunch is provided. Please let Laura or your regional Energy Coordinator know if you are interested, and we hope to see you there! For more detail, view the draft agenda.

 New Southwest AK Energy Website
We're pleased to announce the launch of the new Southwest Alaska Energy Network website. The site features community highlights, a searchable table of energy projects, meetings and events, and funding/technical assistance tools. Please visit the new site at
Shining Light on Bristol Bay

Bristol Bay now houses the largest solar array in Alaska. Naknek Electric Association’s 80.08 kW array in the tundra near Pederson Point has been producing electricity since mid-September 2016. The solar array, which was developed and installed by Washington-based CapStone Solutions, is performing better than expected according to CapStone’s Solar Division Director David Nicol.

The solar array was originally intended for a project with the Bristol Bay Borough School District. CapStone developed and installed the array on the school but faced insurmountable permitting barriers. Mr. Nicol explained that in order to maintain the project and prove it could be done in Alaska for a reasonable cost, the company decided to sell the array to Naknek Electric. Mr. Nicol believes the biggest barrier to installation in Alaska right now is education. “The technology works, it’s tried and true and it doesn’t come with the integration maintenance challenges that small wind projects can have. We need to educate the public, help people understand that this can work. The primary misconception is that it’s too expensive to use in many places."

Nanci Morris-Lyon, President of the Board of Naknek Electric Association, noted in a KDLG interview that the decision to purchase and operate the solar array is “a conscious effort to reduce the carbon footprint” and an effort to find a means of reducing the high cost burden of energy in rural Alaska. Mr. Nicol estimates the array will offset 3,500 to 4,500 gallons of diesel annually. Both Capstone and Naknek Electric Association are watching closely to determine the economic effect of the array. CapStone is expected to close negotiations with three more villages in 2017. These projects combined could add about a megawatt of solar electricity and battery storage in the Bristol Bay Region, with the possibility of cutting diesel consumption and extending the lifespan of the generators in the villages where solar arrays are operational.

Source: SWAMC interview and KDLG audio transcript, Avery Lill, 12.5.16,
Harvard Team on Climate Change Solutions
A team of six Harvard University graduate students will join us at the SWAMC Energy Workshop on Tuesday, February 28th and AEA’s Energy Project Finance Seminar & Energy Project Deal Room the following day. The students are on the “Alaska Team” for a course on climate change solutions. The course goal is to develop innovative programs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions with a focus on reducing emissions in one location to offset a business or agency’s own emissions.

The team with students from law, public health, public policy, business, and engineering schools is investigating energy projects in Alaska to determine if the project goal (reduction of greenhouse gas emissions) can be achieved through renewable energy and/or energy efficiency and weatherization projects in Alaska Native villages. Information gathered on energy efficiency and renewable energy projects in rural Alaska, including in southwest Alaska, will be used to develop their plans.

Joining us for our energy meetings will be the kickoff for their project. If you attend these meetings, please take some time to meet the student team and introduce yourself and your ideas!
Share This Information!
You've received this email because you’re on our Aleutians, Bristol Bay, or Kodiak Regional Contact List. Please share this information with others in your community who are interested in getting involved with energy planning and urge them to contact Laura or visit the website so we can include them on future emails. The goal of this project is to build a network. Please help us involve as many people as possible!
Energy Project Finance Seminar
Alaska Energy Authority is hosting the Alaska Energy Project Finance Seminar on March 1 in Anchorage and March 2 in Fairbanks. This event will bring project developers together with lenders to learn about financing for building efficiency and energy generation projects. For  information and to register, please click here.
Thank you for reading this update from SWAMC. We are excited to continue working with you as the energy planning effort enters a new chapter!
Copyright © 2017 Southwest Alaska Municipal Conference, All rights reserved.

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