Many Southeast Alaska homeowners are converting to electric heat pumps as a way to reduce reliance on fossil fuels and improve air quality. But in some of Southeast’s smallest communities, the high cost of electricity makes operating them unaffordable. A recent study found that offering a special rate for heat pumps in the Kupreanof Island village of Kake and other remote communities could help the electric utility, the environment and the consumer.
Alaskans spend nearly sixty percent more on energy than the national average, and in some rural communities, that number is much higher. The Kupreanof Island village of Kake is trying to bring down the high cost of energy by transitioning to renewables. They’ve looked at solar, wind, hydro and now biomass heating, an old technology with a new design.