Sustainable Energy Conference got Alaska talking about potential of geothermal, wind, solar, and ‘all of the above’

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Anchorage’s downtown looked again like the civic hub of the state this week, with the Den’aina Center hosting a large-scale energy conference, the first in many, many years. Only rather than focusing on oil and gas, this conferenced looked ahead toward some of the next opportunities for the state.

Hosted by Gov. Mike Dunleavy, the inaugural Alaska Sustainable Energy Conference drew national heavyweights to the state to discuss nothing less than the future of the civilized world. 

Dunleavy kicked off the proceedings on Tuesday in the main ballroom filled with over 500 attendees. The governor’s opening remarks harkened back to Alaska’s past and present, and projected a picture of the immense potential of Alaska’s future. 

“Alaska is an oil giant, but it has every resource to be an energy giant,” said Dunleavy. Flanked by Bill Ritter, the former Democratic governor of Colorado, Alaska’s governor was in his element, with a vision of Alaska pioneering energy independence from the global instability that is now on full display in Ukraine, Russia, and China. 

Notable individuals in the audience included executives of the state’s largest companies and industries. It also included Bill Walker, Dunleavy’s predecessor as governor who is running for the fourth time in a row. Sitting dead center in the ballroom, Walker was treated to a full experience of Dunleavy’s Rolodex as one A-list speaker succeeded another. 

Former U.S. Secretary of Energy and Texas Gov. Rick Perry provided a path for Alaska to be an “all of the above” energy state (Dunleavy earlier pointed out that Texas, the epitome of oil gusher states, has three times the renewable energy generation as crunchy liberal California).

Former U.S. Secretary of State and Congressman Mike Pompeo touched on the national security of sustainable energy sources. Democratic Governor of Louisiana John Bel Edwards participated via video in a panel with Dunleavy and Ritter on how governors can use the laboratories of democracy to pioneer energy solutions for their people ahead of federal bureaucracy. 

Outside the main hall, vendors ranging from Alaska utilities to nuclear power firms displayed information and wares. On the ground level, electric-powered sports cars from Mercedes, BMW, Tesla, and other brands caught the eyes of passersby checking out innovations hitting streets today across the world. 

What was notably absent from the conference, apart from passing remarks, was overt partisan politics or pushing a green agenda. It was clear to many observers that Alaska, and the world, is at an inflection point, and the state stands to benefit from harnessing its many sources of potential.

This was punctuated in the afternoon of the first day. Flanked by Ritter and Soldotna Rep. Ron Gilham, Dunleavy signed into law a bill he introduced to streamline the permitting system for microreactors in Alaska. It was the first nuclear energy bill in a generation signed in state, and the first time a governor of another state was present for a bill signing. Former Gov. Walker was not seen after the first day. 

The succeeding days broke into various panel discussions on investment opportunities in Alaska. It is clear America is at a disadvantage, with three-quarters of critical minerals needed for everything from solar panels to electric cars to iphones being located in China. Alaska has immense critical mineral deposits, but it will need a lot of help from Washington to, literally, clear a path from the red tape to get out from under the Beijing government’s thumb. 

What was also made apparent was Alaska’s strategic location to manufacture essential goods. That is only possible with affordable, stable energy. This was on the minds of many attendees when Dunleavy, flanked by the heads of every utility on the railbelt, announced the largest investment in power transmission in a generation. Upgrading the power lines from the Bradley Lake dam, currently the cheapest power in southcentral, allows for other sources of power to come online, protect Alaskans’ utility bills, and keep power from falling off when it is needed most. 

The day concluded with a panel by the oil and gas industry on its role in energy transition. Representatives from Hilcorp were at the stage, as was Janet Weiss, the Grande Dame of oil in Alaska. Weiss, the former head of BP Alaska and current member of the Alaska Gasline Development Corporation, brought perspective into the value of harnessing the state’s massive natural gas reserves and exporting it to coal-producing countries. 

From members of an industry that displaced the whaling oil industry and the horse-drawn means of transport, it was a piercing moment of introspection as the next ten to twenty years show great acceleration. There is a desire not to let America lose out to China and other unfree governments in the next stage of energy. 

The third and final day continued that outward look at the future, including some mind-bending contributors. Tony Seba, a venture capitalist, had a vibrant give-and-take with Dunleavy about everything from when natural gas will be displaced (Seba says mostly within 10 years) to the future of industrial agriculture (Seba says within 15 years maximum, steaks will be history, while Dunleavy, a known fan of ribeyes, disagreed). 

As Thursday ended and the hundreds of attendees walked out into the still-sunny Anchorage weather, the city seemed like it was waking up from the two years of Covid-induced paralysis. Few masks were seen in the crowd of what were, almost certainly, a more left-of-center demographic. Reactions to the conference included surprise that a Republican governor cares about alternative energy (ignoring the role President Donald Trump played in accelerating the movement without much media notice) to urgency on getting Alaska’s house in order before another global movement creates additional supply shocks. 

What was evident as the conference closed is that Alaska remains a deep reservoir of potential for generational energy production, if only it can create the right business-friendly climate that invites the necessary investment for these large-scale projects.

In a state notorious for its almost third-world hostility to business, that will be a tough sell. But if Gov. Dunleavy’s conference showed anything, it is that one opportunity did not have to come at the expense of another. 

25 COMMENTS

  1. Move the capital north. Dunleavy your the worse governor of all time your a big dumb sell out rino you have been exposed so exposed as a corrupt oath breaking coward. I will take you and chis constant on at the same time please let’s meet at the Thursday night fights. Dunleavy you need to be beat black and blue for what you did to Lora rienbold and constant just for the sake of assholes like you are a constant stench to us all. Thursday night my treat oath breakers.

    • Before you bleed for poor Lora, please go back and read all of the press about her during the Covid times and then compare that with her video. She plain out assaulted Dunleavy’s staff so badly for months that they finally refused to testify in her committee. Finally, after so many complaints and months, Dunleavy ran out of patience and gave them permission to refuse to testify in her committee. Her tyrannical tactics are also what brought out the governor’s letter. She made such a rukus with her theatrics that even people who agreed with her questioned her tactics. She also refused to wear the masks on flights and sometimes in the legislature as well. Sometimes she even refused to wear masks in the lines to get on the plane. After months of this and pleading with her majesty, Alaska Airlines finally outlawed her on flights. That whinny video you saw was a complete fraud. You should check all of the news reports first. I’m sure she had help from Chairman Bill who will be glad to use her Oscar-competing video as a means of showing people who should know better that she was a victim. She definitely was NOT a victim. Better that she should have bragged about raising a rukus for her cause that would have gotten her much more admiration than that sorry excuse that she recorded.

  2. Yet another reason NOT to vote for Mike Dunleavy. I am done with this backstabbing, compromising, Democrat-loving RINO

  3. Very well written article. In 1968 Alaska began it’s dreams as an oil rich state. In 1977 the Alaska Pipeline began delivering oil to make that dream a reality. Here we are, almost 55 years later, spreading panic about the treacherous path of climate change due to the combustion of petroleum products. If we were to discontinue our precious oil industry and try and substitute it with wind, solar, or geothermal energy sources, the state would fold in a matter of weeks. These alternative energy conferences are great for appeasing the climate crises community, but the reality of the matter is that Alaska will be producing oil for another 75 years. And the same goes for coal. These two fuels are time tested, reliable, relatively inexpensive and truly consequential for the economic health of our state. Most importantly, they are dependable sources.

  4. Wind and solar are theoretically “sustainable” sources of energy but the viable and economical technology and infrastructure is no where near the stage of implementation. Oil and gas will be primary for decades.
    Before destroying the economy, environment and wildlife for the benefit of a handful of billionaires, the technology and the infrastructure to capture and store wind and power must be created. Until that time, the interests pushing this need to be ignored.

    • Well said, Brian!
      .
      These unicornian dreams of “green energy” are simply the fantasies of statists and sociopaths, who would use ANY excuse, and go to ANY lengths, to undermine out society, our prosperity (such as it is) and our freedoms.

      • Jefferson, don’t you see. The purpose of communism is to drag the ambitious achievers down to the level of slovenly parasites…. so everyone is equally miserable in their self-loathing.

  5. The minerals and oil industries are ready, willing, and able to facilitate the creation of all the devices that are required for the ‘new’ energy world. This will require a huge effort to expand raw material production by an order of magnitude or more. Think global and mine local!

  6. Given your senior content why was my content summarily censored? I said Alaska will never have proeeds from the allegedly valuable resources. What I said was truth. You only like truth as it proceeds from caucasian lips or ignorant statements from uneducated but lustful minorities.

  7. And yes we minorities intend to be at the table with God at our side preparing a table FOR US in the midst of our enemies.

  8. There is an ocean between us and the Scythians, Chinese, now for a reason built by God. Scythians’ weapon, the scythe, is still in use to rip human organs out for sale. These people have not accepted Christ nor His teachings either evidently. As we dishonor the ocean, placed there by the hand of God for our protection, while our rulers say “there is no God” let us count our money as our funds dissipate.

    • Galeution, there is iron in your words of truth regarding our problems. See 2Chronicles7:14 for the comprehensive, all-inclusive, solution.

  9. For hope check out the Holy Scriptures. For an experimental time America welcomed the believers in God’s Kingdom. Perhaps God Himself will protect what’s left of this continent that welcomed, sheltered and protected believers in the Kingdom of God. Watch and see.

  10. I the Dunleavy administration Alaska’s residential energy policy IS ZERO.

    A BILLION dollars to help with oil ZERO dollars for solar.

    His attendance at a renewable energy conference is a Tall Joke.

  11. Texas uses over twice as much electricity per person than California. With warming temperatures the Texas use of electricity will grow much faster than California.

  12. So we give up oil and natural gas for windmills, nuclear power plants, and thermo energy plants. This sounds all fine and dandy but one question remains…how do we pay for all this? Alaska has fewer than a million residents, raise taxes? Sure, tax us 70-80% of our incomes and with the remaining 20% we can retrofit our houses and buy a $100K Tesla. Hold the steak, I’ll just swallow a vegetable tablet.

  13. Yeah…most of it works sort of like Juneau’s electric bus does……

    “Almost”, “Sort of”, “Kinda”, “just a little more expensive”…….

  14. Does that mean that no matter what avenue or energy resource Alaska implements will the revenue be added to the PFD for Alaskans or will that money be stolen from us then too? Trying to come up with some other energy source should not come at the expense of the fuel reserves we still have.
    I know the narcissists want to keep stealing our PFD money for their pockets but are they looking to kick Alaskans out of any future revenues?
    In the meantime, just utilize the resources we have and give us the statutory amount on the PFD owed from the past present and future.

  15. Um, we hit peak whale so petroleum was cheaper. The chorus of peak petroleum hasn’t rung true yet. Nevertheless government and the green church try to displace it.

  16. There is nothing so efficient as that Boeing 737-700 to move people across Alaska, plus Wealthy Folks like their Jets. Nothing will replace oil, not snytime soon.

    Meanwhile, the Greenies will endeavor to destroy society with this rubbish, just like their spiritual father Lenin did with anyone of his 5 year plans.

  17. Good intel, Senior.
    .
    “drew national heavyweights to the state to discuss nothing less than the future of the civilized world.”
    .
    Think of it as a planetary homeowners’ association… their civilized world, designed and operated by them, in which they may permit you to live, only by their rules.
    .
    Venture capital presence means money’s probably changed hands already.
    .
    This might explain why the ceremony had to be decorated with an infusion of Democrat politicians suggesting nothing good, if “Build Back Better” was any indication
    .
    … and a “left of center” congregation reminiscent of woke hood ornaments; attractive, loud, functionally useless.
    .
    Only the bravest of souls dare ask whether Permanent Fund Dividend payouts were problematic because PFD money may have been the collateral which attracted venture capitalists and “national heavyweights” like moths to flame.
    .
    As for Texas Rick Perry, we still don’t know why Texas’ all-of-the-above power grid failed last winter, who got fired over that avoidable debacle, what restitutions were made to customers who lost their food, whose houses froze up because their electricity failed, and what assures remote Alaskan communites the same thing will never happen to them.
    .
    Since none of these things will be designed, installed, maintained, manufactured, replaced, controlled, transported, or operated without petroleum or natural gas products… or proprietary processor chips made exclusively by China Bill Walker’s partners across the pond,
    .
    what, Senior, was the purpose of this seance if not to seduce Alaskans into mindlessly buying what national heavyweights have planned for them… the new Utopia of geothermal, wind, solar, and all of the above, while Alaska’s natural gas is given away to China Bill Walker’s partners across the pond,
    .
    …we suppose as payback for all the fentanyl China Bill Walker’s partners across the pond so generously invested in America?

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