I recently saw an ad in the Fairbanks Daily Newsminer announcing that soon natural gas would be brought to Fairbanks- the date on the paper was over half a century ago. There have been continued efforts which culminated last year with the Governor’s Budget approving around a third of a billion dollars in loans, grants and other planning tools to get affordable gas into the Interior. This is important for businesses, who spend vast amounts on money on space heating, as well as individual residents watching their home budget. This time trucking the gas from the North Slope has been the preferred project. The question always is, by the time you pay for new infrastructure to secure the gas, load it onto trucks, off load it and then take care of costs to get it into individuals homes, is it worth it financially when compared to the substitutes (fuel oil in this case)? An editorial this weekend in the Fairbanks Daily Newsminer lines out many of the details. The most important one though, is that tomorrow, Wednesday 11/12/14, Fairbanks will know what the State’s AIEDA office has calculated the overall costs at. Read the article, see if it interests you, and possibly we’ll see you there!
CBC has an article about Barrow, the election and whaling. Point Barrow was a point of contact for operations during the pre-petroleum days when whale oil was used for lighting and the smooth running of machinery. About a hundred years ago, after petroleum replaced whale oil, the Navy planted research station, and local natural gas was tapped for cheap local use. The article points out the cost of living in Barrow by mentioning milk that is over $10 (? no amount, yet I assumed gallon) and $7 gal/gas. The fuel noted is just under twice the amount than it costs in Fairbanks. There are villages in Interior Alaska where it costs more due to having to fly it in. But again, while Barrow does have high prices on most commodities that have to be brought in, it does have local goods such as whale for groceries and natural gas for cheap electrical generation and space heat! It may be the farthest north and remote city in the nation, yet it also has relatively cheap space heating (which is the real cost sink in living north of the Anchorage/Mat-Su bowl area).