Arctic Yearbook 2015 - Page 91

91 Arctic Yearbook 2015 to promote rural development, provide power generation and infrastructure requirements. The Commission works closely with the Alaska Energy Authority (AEA) and Alaska Village Electrical Cooperative (AVEC) to provide funding and support for renewable demonstration projects and career training for local residents with a focus on community sustainability. Additional support comes from a variety of government agencies. However, the Commission is constrained by fluctuating and now declining federal funding: “During the 14 years of the Commission’s existence, federal budget authority has been as low as $10 million, has expanded to as much as $140 million a year, and over the past four years has steadily declined to $23.9 million,” equal to funding in fiscal year 2000 (Denali Commission Alaska 2014: 10). Despite hurdles numerous projects are showing varying degrees of success in wind, hydro and modern biomass increasing access to a stable energy supply while decreasing their reliance on diesel. These projects encourage integration of energy supply development with the greater needs of the community (Denali Commission Alaska 2014).     With AEA support the island community of St. George developed an integrated energy supply using wind technology, which at peak has delivered 80% of community power supply. Once dependent on diesel shipped from Anchorage, and occasionally Seattle, Washington, the community now expects that wind turbines will fulfill 50% of local energy requirements including growth of its commercial fishing operation (Alaska Energy Authority 2014). Started in 1968, AVEC (About Us) is a non-profit collective serving 56 remote communities, representing the interests of members who are culturally Athabascan, Aleut, Inupiat, Yupik, Siberian Yupik, and Caucasian. Grants from the Denali Commission are funding efficiency upgrades for more than 150 diesel generators, and 34 wind turbines installed in 11 communities are targeted to replace 25% of diesel consumption by 2018. Hooper Bay, AVECs largest community of 1,160 residents, “will displace about 44,500 gallons of diesel fuel [annually] used for power generation.” Developed in 2007, the Tanana Washateria project is showing promising results. The instillation of two high-efficiency wood-fired Garn heating boilers, which heats this laundry and shower facility, has reduced oil consumption by 30% and saved the community tens of thousands of dollars. In addition woodcutters earn $250 per cord of wood and money remains at home rather than leaving the community in payment for diesel (University of Alaska Fairbanks, Case Study: Tanana). The fishing community of Craig installed a biomass energy system fuelled by wood chips from the local sawmill to offset a monthly fuel bill in excess of $10,000 that provides heat for 2 local schools and the community swimming pool. The wood-fired system has displaced 85% diesel and propane use and the community expects the $1.5 million investment to pay for itself in 12 years (University of Alaska Fairbanks, Case Study: Tanana). The potential for renewable energy coupled with sustainable socio-economic development is examined in a study (Sikka et al. 2013) conducted in cooperation with the Native Corporation Sealaska and its subsidiary organization Haa Aaní, LLC, located in the nation’s largest forest, the Tongass National Forest region, to which Sealaksa holds title. Concerned with outmigration Haa Aaní invested Dingman