Description:Use of a local energy resource, such as geothermal energy, may be indicated in spite of high initial capital costs. Resources associated with hot springs in the Seward Peninsula will be comparatively cool, perhaps 150"C, while higher temperatures may be expected in the Aleutian Islands, Alaska Peninsula, and the Wrangells. Present geothermal energy application in Alaska consists of minor local use of the waters from roughly a half dozen hot springs.
The major near term non-electric application of geothermal energy in Alaska are probably space heating and agriculture in remote areas. Other possibilities under study are pulp processing in the panhandle, fish and crab process heat, and mine ore process heat.
Two demonstration prospects have been under consideration for federal funding in Alaska. One would develop Pilgrim Springs, some 50 miles north of Nome, to supply heat, perhaps electricity, agriculture products, and recreational facilities for Nome. The other would use existing hot spring resources to supply space heating, greenhouse agriculture, and perhaps electricity to some as yet
unchosen small Alaskan village (perhaps Elim or Atka).
The major problems that need to be addressed to further the use of non-electric geothermal energy in Alaska seem to be: resource location and assessment, economic assessment (in places wind may be more appropriate), hot water transport studies, public education, front end funding, and the legal situation on geothermal resources. Joint work on these problems with agencies of other states, or of
the federal government would be welcome.
Publication Date: Aug 26, 1974