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I just was at a conference the last couple of days with the Southwest Alaska Municipalities.  And of course, energy was a big topic (it took up the whole first day).  Yesterday there was a panel  featuring the Norwegian Counsel General, I believe,  and our Lt. Gov. to highlight the very recent opening of a Northwest passage due to climate change.  There have been ten times  as many ships that have traversed the polar route in 2012 than in 2010- the  number is bound to go up yearly as nations build more icebreakers this next decade. The mayors of Adak (where they have paid as much as $1.05/kwh for electricity)  and Dutch Harbor were pointing as to what a game changer Alaska will be for the US if we promote and build up good infrastructure to service ships.  Of course, the race is on with other nations such as  Russia to control that area above the Bering Straight and over the top to Scandinavia to get goods to European markets. A torrefacted wood manufacturer and wood pellet distributor have spoken in the grapevine about the possibilities of shipping this Alaskan value-added product over the pole to Europe as they want carbon neutral product to burn.  And of course, oil and LNG (Liquified Natural Gas) shippers are keeping a keen eye on the ice!

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