Perspectives on Business and Economics, Vol. 40

42 that need to keep their data inside the country and that want a strong set of laws protecting their data and their clients’ information. One of the most important takeaways about data center investment is the importance of having strong advocates who would want such development. Interestingly, the ANCs may be ideally positioned to play just such a role. To date, the ANCs have worked hard to expand both job opportunities and investments for their people. These ANCs have significant capital generated by the oil wealth and other sources of income-producing assets that they receive through the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (U.S. Congress, Senate Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs, 1971). Although they do not all share equally in oil-related receipts, the corporations recognize that as oil production declines and renewable energy enters the market, the wealth that has been created through oil and natural gas profits will dramatically decrease, as will the industry-related employment opportunities. Interestingly, some of the ANCs have unknowingly begun to tackle some of the issues for data centers in Alaska. The Cook Inlet Region, Inc. (CIRI) ANC has spent large amounts of money to harness wind energy in the Anchorage area and invested in further educating its population around technology in its community (CIRI, n.d.; also, see article by Franolic in this volume). In the past, corporation shareholders have been entitled to jobs created through Alyeska, the operator of the Alaskan pipeline. What if the ANCs used their capital to build data centers and related infrastructure and then employed their own shareholders to run the centers? Such an approach would provide all the positive aspects the Alaskan pipeline once did but instead in the form of technology powered by the renewable resources, perhaps found on their land. Alaska is a battery, waiting for its power to be harnessed by the data center market. Only if its people, elected officials, and ANCs make the right decisions can they turn its renewable energy potential, existing climate, and political mindset into a profitable overall environment. The question remains, does Alaska want to be known as a state that turned a finite resource into short-term wealth or a state that channeled the earth into long-term financial success? Only time will tell.