Want to See the Future of Energy? Look to Alaska and Hawaii
July 21, 2010
By Alexis Madrigal at the Atlantic Monthly: Energy markets are weird. Though we talk about renewable energy sources being “competitive” with traditional power plants, the price people pay for electricity varies widely. People in New England pay almost twice as much for electricity as their cousins in Kentucky or Montana. On that spectrum, the strangest places to buy some kilowatt hours are the noncontiguous states Alaska and Hawaii.
Take the town of Gustavus, Alaska, about 50 miles northwest from Juneau. For decades, a generator has been burning thousands of gallons of diesel to generate electricity. Because of the high cost of fuel transport and plant operation, residents of the town were paying several times the national average price of about 10 cents per kilowatt hour.