Alaska Energy Authority seeks innovative projects 

From KTUU: The Alaska Energy Authority wants to encourage energy innovations, even if it means some of the projects might fail. The state is willing to spend millions on the chance that an experiment will pay off.

The idea is to try something new — to innovate ideas through research or experimentation.“We need to be looking for projects that are going to bring more energy choices to Alaskans,” said Neil McMahon.

Energy innovators say a lot of great ideas fall into what they call the “valley of death,” where businesses just don’t have the money to start up an expensive technology project.That’s where the emerging energy technology fund comes in.

“We are looking for projects that can be commercially viable within five years. These are technologies that are not ready for prime time right now necessarily, but which may hold a lot of promise later on,” said Peter Crimp, deputy director of alternative energy.

The advisory committee for the fund laid down the ground rules for applicants to help it pick the projects most likely to succeed. $5 million in grant money will go toward the projects, which could be similar to something that worked in the Lower 48 or maybe something completely new.

“Throughout the state there’s all sort of different areas that have different challenges. Most of the state to produce electricity. Most areas outside the Railbelt rely on diesel generation, so you have to get diesel to those areas and it’s very expensive,” said Neil McMahon, the emerging energy technology project manager.

The advisory committee says it would like to see ideas for storing energy. The hope is the technology will eventually be tailored to Alaska communities to lower energy costs. AEA expects to begin accepting applications for the grants after the first of the year and will start reviewing them six weeks after that. See the original story here

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