Often people think that remote energy refers to rural areas with old creosote coated electrical line poles standing tall with glass insulators and sagging lines (possibly even a bird or two perched on the poles or on the line).  In Alaska, ‘remote’ is often considered to be areas off the road system or the railbelt.  I usually think of remote energy  as utilizing appliances or devices for cooking, heating or electrical generation regardless of location.  It can be as small scale as someone ‘hiking in’ and cooking lunch on a Coleman white gas stove in one of the valley areas behind Fairbanks possibly even surrounded on the ridge along the Elliot or Steese Highways with electricity supplied to cabins by Golden Valley Electric Association.

It could also refer to a situation where a family up the Yukon river are living for a couple of summer months out at their fishcamp; they may start a generator at night to operate a CB radio for communications, a portable 1500 buddy heater, and possibly electric coil hotplate to quickly warm some soup.  Though utility lines may not be far away, these are nonetheless examples where many would equate ‘remote’ energy with ‘off-grid’ energy. If you go a step further in scale though, to the community level (such as in Western Alaska), you may have a grid generating power remotely just to a single village (often with a wind turbine supplementing a diesel generator).  In this situation, you have an enclave of a grid that runs by itself and could call it ‘remote energy’ generation.

There is one other use of energy rather than for cooking, heat and electrical generation, and that is a use which supports these small ‘micro grid.  Without vast amounts of fuel/energy being used for flights or ships coming in and out of those villages, there would not be the fuel delivered which is necessary to power these communities!

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