Wind Farms: Part of the rural energy solution 

By Tracy Kalytiak for Alaska Business Monthly

Paying the light bill and keeping the house warm in rural Alaska can be formidably expensive for someone like Samuel Carl, who, with his wife, Polly, works hard to support the family’s six children in Kipnuk.

“This spring I’ve been hunting and we have the spring harvest from the tundra out there,” Carl said. “We need to collect some greens before they start sprouting, you know. It’s better than the store foods, healthier.”

Groceries cost too much to buy regularly. Doing the family’s laundry at the local laundromat costs $6.50 a load to wash, another $7 a load to dry. What is most frustrating is not being able to know well ahead of time how much fuel will cost when it’s delivered – a critical factor for Carl, an hourly employee at Kipnuk Light Plant.

“Here in the villages, we live paycheck to paycheck,” Carl said. “The most difficult time we had was when we ran out of fuel and our water supply started to freeze.”

Wind could drastically change the way Carl and thousands of other people live in rural Alaska by relieving and someday drastically lessening their need for expensive and unpredictably priced fossil fuels as their primary source for electricity and warmth.

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