energy

Hope McKenney/KUCB and Dennis Robinson

Voters asked mayoral hopefuls Dennis Robinson and Vince Tutiakoff Sr. about Unalaska's economy, environment, and potential as a future military base during last week's Candidates Forum. 

Zoë Sobel/KUCB

 

In Unalaska, it can cost more than $500 a month to heat a typical home in the winter. Because the treeless island is 1,000 miles from Anchorage, everything is shipped in — including heating oil. It’s the source of heat for the vast majority of houses in the city.

Unalaska resident Travis Swangel heats his small home on the island with a Toyo stove.

The Cost of Cold is a series from Alaska’s Energy Desk about how Alaskans around the state heat their homes. Reporter Zoe Sobel produced this story.

Berett Wilber/KUCB

 

Unalaskans know the island’s wind is strong — it can blow over 100 miles per hour.

Back in 2005, the city council funded a study to see if that wind could be used for power generation. The former city manager, Nancy Peterson, said that they basically concluded that it wasn’t possible because there was no technology strong enough to withstand Unalaska’s wind.

Annie Feidt/Alaska Public

 

Rural Alaska runs on diesel. Although many communities are open to alternative energy ideas, they don’t have the funding to even explore them. But help could come in the form of graduate students from Harvard University, who have been tasked with the assignment of solving some of Alaska’s fossil fuel energy woes.

Harvard law student Mike Maruca may sound like he’s describing a spring break trip.

“We also got to drive out to Seward and went skiing at Alyeska,” Maruca said. “We managed to catch the northern lights last night, sort of. They were not very clear.”

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