Finding Renewable Energy in a Remote Village
May 8, 2014
By Tara Young | Alaska Dispatch: The remote village of Igiugig at the mouth of the Kvichak River on huge Lake Iliamna in Southwest Alaska believes in self-determination, including its energy supplies. With climate change in the Arctic creating more storms and more coastal erosion, the villagers are working to find sustainable ways to create energy and food. Alexanna Salmon, administrator for the village council, and a small group of young, motived local leaders in the village of fewer than 70 people have worked to find ways to utilize renewable energy in their community. Hauling fossil fuels by small plane or boats is costly, and fuel prices are soaring. Salmon and her small team have utilized renewable energy opportunities to show the community and other villages that there are alternatives to expensive fossil fuels.
Traditionally Igiugig residents lived in fish camps during the summer, taking advantage of one of the largest sockeye salmon runs in the world. Today, tourism and fishing bring many people to the area, with several lodges in and around Igiugig hosting the visitors. Rather than live in energy poverty, the residents of Igiugig are testing renewable energy methods, which include solar and wind power. They have started a local food production program to serve the lodges in the area and to feed the community. Greenhouses and wind power have allowed them to enjoy fresh basil and squash in addition to locally hunted and gathered food items.