A group called the Alaska Microgrid Partnership met in person for the first time and traveled to Kongiganak to see this rare rural Alaska phenomenon and how it works up close. The goal was to define how far we can go with renewables, energy efficiency, and energy conservation, together, in reducing the use of fossil fuels, lowering energy costs, and creating jobs.
The microgrid partnership is designing models to post online that can be used by any rural Alaska community to reach these goals. They’re using two communities to create the models: Chefornak, which they believe could run largely off wind, and Shungnak, which could do the same with solar energy.
The project does not include funding to install these systems, but Chefornak has secured federal funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and should receive three wind turbines by 2019. The Alaska Microgrid Partnership started last year and will end in September if federal funding isn’t renewed.