Perspectives on Business and Economics, Vol. 40

17 Alaska’s economic transition away from the oil and gas industry (Foster, 2021). On-site Use of Low-energy Production Large-scale application of renewable energy, either through transmission or on-site use, can be costly and requires years of planning and construction. Alternatively, smallscale renewable energy projects can more immediately help the approximately 200 remote communities in Alaska. These rural communities operate on their own microgrids and produce energy independently (Whitney, 2017). As of this writing, 70 of these communities have established hybrid renewable microgrids, which accept renewable and nonrenewable energy inputs. This advancement arose as a result of cost-reduction efforts in areas that incur some of the highest energy costs in the country, often surpassing $1/kWh, compared to the national average of $0.13/kWh. Remote Alaska’s high costs are also coupled with low median household incomes and fewer employment opportunities (Holdmann et al., 2019). For these groups, renewable energy can provide a cost-effective, reliable option that reduces their reliance on expensive fuels. Choosing which renewable resource is best for each community depends on its location and size. Of the remote communities that already use renewable energy, there are 24 that have wind systems with capacities ranging from 100 kW to 9 MW. Wind is primarily available for villages on the southwestern coast, where it may exceed electrical demand and be used in other ways like heat production. Renewable energy from solar is becoming a more popular option predominantly in the interior and western areas of the state, where most of the energy is generated in the summer but can be used to supplement generation year-round. Finally, less popular options like biomass fuels and geothermal energy can be used for localized heating and, in some cases, small-scale power production, as it is at Chena Hot Springs (Holdmann et al., 2019). Remote communities have significant potential applications for renewable energy resources, not only because of their demonstrated need but also because the implications of many of the challenges discussed are greatly reduced when the scale of energy production decreases. Conclusion The argument for developing Alaska’s renewable energy resources is strong. Development could reduce electricity costs, which are some of the highest in the country, and support the 200 remote communities not connected to the Railbelt grid. Development also presents opportunity for financial profit while diversifying Alaska’s economy. Most importantly, as the Earth continues to suffer from climate change, it is clear that renewable energy is an integral part of a future on the planet. With a long coastline and as one of the few regions on Earth with a vast area of undeveloped land, Alaska is uniquely wealthy in renewable energy resources. With geothermal, wind, tidal, and solar energy among these, there is great potential but also an array of challenges to overcome. However, with proper research and planning, overcoming Alaska’s unique challenges becomes an achievable step in the process of resource development. As this article emphasizes, these challenges should not be a hindrance to progress, especially considering the various ways this energy can be used. Alaska’s renewable energy resources hold great promise for the endeavors of private and public developers.