While the rest of America is slow to jump on the band wagon for wind renewable energy, rural Alaskan towns are eager to install wind farms through the Alaskan Village Electric Cooperative.
In Alaska there are villages that are so small and rural they have no roads. Everything in the community is shipped by barge or plane including fuel. At $7.40 a gallon, it’s no wonder that these rural communities are eagerly installing wind farms in order to save money.
The simple beauty of this program is that while oil and diesel are expensive to transport to these communities, wind turbines can be placed virtually anywhere because of the harsh, barren landscape. They pay for themselves in a few years by the amount of energy they save for the community. For example Toksook Bay, a fishing community, has three wind turbines that save anywhere from a few dozen gallons to a few hundred gallons every day. It’s an economic example of the sustainability of this technology.
What’s great is the bias that wind is a luxury fuel is being overturned in a conservative state which used to sneer at the idea. It’s true that most of the oil from the United States comes from Alaska, but little stays in the state, which partly accounts for the high prices. Even urban areas are benefiting from wind power as more and more wind farms pop up along the coast and it looks like more are to come. Currently, 24% of the energy in Alaska is generated from hydroelectric sources, but Gov. Palin has announced recently Alaska will try to obtain 50% of their energy through renewable sources by 2025. So it’s very plausible that Alaska will become the frontier for renewable energy.