Perspectives on Business and Economics, Vol. 40

38 equipment cool. Estimates suggest that 30% to 50% of a data center’s energy demand is used just for cooling (Ingalls, 2021; Zhao et al., 2014). One of the many strategies used today by data companies is to place their centers in arctic nations, such as Sweden, Iceland, and Norway, where the largest data center is being built (Dawn-Hiscox, 2018; Haaramo, 2017). Once a data center is active and producing heat, operators merely pipe in cold air from outside, and the cooling bill drops to close to zero, as chillers and energy-intensive coolers no longer must be run. Alaska, with its cold temperatures in the winter and moderate temperatures in the summer, could allow data centers to function at a much reduced cost, as in other arctic areas. An interesting associated idea being investigated, but not yet implemented, is to sell the heat produced in the winter. Some organizations and towns centralize heating as a utility, a system known as district heating, similar to how universities often have a central heating plant. Selling the heat to nearby residents and businesses would then be a secondary source of revenue. Effectively, these data centers are like large electric coils, producing heat that otherwise will not be used except to heat the ambient area surrounding the facility; so, why should they not benefit from it in a place where heating is expensive? Communications and Connectivity High-speed internet connection is unevenly distributed across the state. In urban locations and those areas along the major highways, access to the internet is readily available via large fiber-optic cables with capacity to send terabytes of data; but, in other sections of the state, access is severely limited, unless there are satellite dishes (see article by Carr in this volume). With this great disparity, the internet can be a politically sensitive subject in parts of the state. However, although the internet can be inaccessible in some places, all that is needed for a data center are fiber-optic cables and capacity on these lines. Currently, from Anchorage, four fiber-optic lines run toward the West Coast of the United States, with much unused capacity. On top of that, two other fiber-optic lines are being constructed, the Quintillion line and ALCan One, that will add a tremendous capacity to a region with little data network demand for large fiber optics (Quintillion Global, 2022). With this improvement, a provider could locate a data center close to one of these fiber cables, hook up, and have no issues transmitting data to the rest of the world. The availability of fiber-optic lines with increased capacity thus complements Alaska’s ambient air temperatures and future renewable energy development. Locational Costs Although the state is vast, only 1% of Alaska’s land is privately held, with another 10% owned by the Alaska Native Corporations (ANCs). The remainder is distributed between the federal and state governments (Natural Resource Conservation Service Alaska, 2000). Data centers do necessitate large tracts of land that have to be secured to military-like standards to protect the data that are stored as well as for national security requirements, which can make finding locations for them difficult, especially in places with limited private land. Although relatively small percentage-wise of the total land, the ANCs, in fact, possess extensive lands that they sometimes use for investment purposes. So, finding a location for one of these data centers may be difficult but nonetheless feasible by working with an ANC that would recognize such a venture as a profitable investment, bringing jobs and money into their area. Overall, Alaska has land sufficient for secure locations on which to build data centers through partnering with the ANCs. Labor Force The final need for a data center is a skilled workforce. Data centers, once up and running, primarily employ technicians with vocational training and basic certifications that can be obtained for free (TRG Datacenters, 2021). As the oil industry begins to slow in the state of Alaska, due to declining production, especially in the face of expanding renewables around the world, blue-collar workers with extensive vocational training will look for new jobs in Alaska. If providers are willing to retrain workers already located in Alaska through on-thejob training programs, along with providing the university and community college system with the resources to help these highly skilled