Report: More renewable energy keeps money in Sitka 

By Ed Ronco, KCAW: Shifting Sitka to more renewable sources of energy could keep millions of dollars from leaving the community over the next 20 years.

That’s the conclusion of The Future of Energy in Sitka report (.pdf) by the Sitka Conservation Society.

Right now, Sitka uses renewable resources for about a quarter of its energy needs. Nonrenewable resources, such as oil products, account for three quarters of the energy in town.

Work on the 22-page report was led by Scott Brylinsky, a former city public works official. Brylinsky says over the next 20 years, Sitka will spend more than $1 billion on oil.

“If we invest in renewable energy, there’s a good chance that we can save over $500 million of that money we would spend, and that the money would circulate in the local economy,” said Andrew Thoms, executive director of the Sitka Conservation Society.

The study considered existing technology only. It took into account the possibility of using wood products for heat, and the additional electrical capacity that will be added by expanding Blue Lake and developing another hydro project at Takatz Lake.

The study also makes recommendations. It says Sitka should develop a stronger plan for its energy future. It also says the electric department should be given the authority to charge higher rates when power is limited, and lower rates when excess power is available. It also recommends heat pumps for space heating, and other measures to increase energy efficiency.

Thoms says the city has already taken a big step forward. Read more

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