Perspectives on Business and Economics, Vol. 40

16 The next phase was the design of a transmission line for difficult and varied terrain. Dryden & LaRue, an engineering consulting firm based in Anchorage, was asked to aid in the redesign of traditional transmission towers to meet these challenges. They modified the tower and micropile designs to accommodate the rocky hillside terrain with varying geotechnical conditions, including muskeg (deep organics), soft silt, clay, and hard bedrock. The final challenge in erecting this 57-mile transmission line system was planning how to build in remote territory. Dryden & LaRue also assisted in rethinking the typical approach for transmission line construction to make methods helicopter-compatible. Finally, to obtain the steel structures needed, steel was trucked from Pennsylvania to Washington and then barged to Ketchikan, where it could be picked up by construction helicopters. Overcoming these challenges led to the project being completed 14 years after design began in 1995. This was longer than anticipated, given it included a three-year halt due to funding issues (Carlson & Huffman, 2011). The SwanTyee case demonstrates that building a transmission line through federally protected land to support renewable energy production is a practical option. On-site Use of High-energy Production As Alaska looks to move away from its reliance on oil revenues, renewables could provide an opportunity for the state to diversify its economy by expanding into different industries. For resources far away from the Railbelt grid, rather than building transmission lines to transport electricity from a generation facility, a direct high-energy use for that electricity could be built adjacent to the generation plant, thus avoiding transmission challenges and guaranteeing demand for the electricity. For renewable source electricity that can be readily transmitted to nearby population centers, these energy-intensive processes could also be co-located to increase demand. Appropriate industrial applications would also allow Alaska’s economy to expand in an environmentally friendly way. High-energy applications of renewable energy require accounting for several considerations. For instance, if a tangible good is produced on-site, how will raw material be shipped for production, and how will that product be shipped to a consumer? Such considerations may not be relevant if energy production occurs on the coast or near a port, because ships could easily move between the site and a consumer. Although not discussed in detail in this article, aluminum smelting can be a potential use of high-energy production, as it is responsible for roughly 14% of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide (Alaska Waste, 2017). There are countless applications for electricity from renewable energy in Alaska, but a few industries are particularly attractive options. Data centers are energy intensive and have high growth potential in Alaska. Today in the US, data centers use over 70 B kWh of electricity per year, of which more than half is used to cool servers (Shehabi et al., 2016). Demand for data centers also is increasing as reliance on new technologies like artificial intelligence increases. Companies are looking for ways to decrease costs and environmental impact by making their operations less energy intensive and more efficient. Alaska has potential for solutions, by virtue of less energy needed to cool servers in Alaska’s climate. Additionally, because energy is not a physical good, there are no shipping concerns, bolstering support for data centers as a viable application for renewable energy. Another potential for renewable energy in Alaska is green hydrogen for fuel, so-called because it is produced through the electrolysis of water using renewables, as opposed to blue hydrogen, which is produced using nonrenewable energy. Although green hydrogen is not currently produced or widely used in Alaska, the industry has great potential. Alaska’s shipping and transportation costs are high, a result of most goods being imported on cargo ships that burn hydrocarbon fuel. This method of receiving goods is not only time consuming and costly but also not environmentally friendly. A better alternative is running cargo ships on hydrogen fuel produced on-site at a renewable energy power plant, which would generate profit for a developer and diversify the Alaskan economy with a new revenue stream. Green hydrogen is also an emerging, fast-growing industry that could easily aid in