Skip to main content


Renewable energy in remote Alaskan villages

Research Achievements

Renewable energy in remote Alaskan villages

Four past and current IGERT trainees and associates (Kolker, Fresco, Warren, and Maynard) worked with state and federal agencies and with rural communities to improve opportunities for using renewable energy in remote Alaskan villages. These villages are off of Alaska's electrical grid, have some of the highest poverty levels in the U.S. and pay 2-4 times more for electricity than do most Americans. Their electricity is currently provided by diesel generators and is thus vulnerable to international fluctuations in oil prices. These four IGERT trainees (all women) documented the locations of geothermal heat sources, assessed the ecological and economic viability and sustainability of wood heat and power generation, and documented the economic, social, and political opportunities and barriers for wind power in rural villages. Their work contributed to formulating Alaska's first comprehensive energy policy as a step toward implementing renewable energy in rural indigenous communities.