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ACEP, TCC partner to energize rural Alaska

Submitted by Marmian Grimes
Phone: 907-474-7902

05/29/09

The Alaska Center for Energy and Power at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and Tanana Chiefs Conference have formed a new partnership aimed at finding rural energy solutions for the 42 communities in the TCC region.

The communities are located primarily off the road system and the state's electric grid. Residents' energy costs are among the highest in the nation. ACEP rural energy specialist Ross Coen will coordinate the partnership's efforts to implement clean and affordable energy solutions to meet TCC's goal of creating sustainable communities.

"Our communities have abundant renewable energy resources available to them," said Jerry Issac, president of TCC. "We have geothermal, biomass, hydrokinetic and other potential energy sources. By combining the community-organizing skills and representation of TCC with the university's technical and scientific expertise, we're confident we can achieve long-term sustainable energy solutions for rural Alaska."

ACEP organizational director Gwen Holdmann said the center's focus on identifying stable and affordable energy sources complement's TCC's goals.

"We will leverage our technological and research expertise with Tanana Chiefs' tribal knowledge to create the best solutions, originating within each community but integrated into a larger regionwide energy plan," she said.

The partnership's efforts stand to contribute to the success and continued viability of TCC's communities and the way of life of the people who live in them, Isaac said. "We want to ensure our efforts result in real progress and solutions for our communities."

The Alaska Center for Energy and Power hopes to eventually expand the partnership model in other regions in Alaska.

CONTACT: Gwen Holdmann, ACEP organizational director, at 907-590-0879 or via e-mail at gwen.holdmann@uaf.edu. Mike Smith, TCC energy working group, at 907-378-2687 or via e-mail at mike.smith@tananachiefs.org.

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