Tanana, Alaska – Food,  energy, water Connections

Tanana, Alaska – Food, energy, water Connections

December 8, 2019 0 By William Morgan


Energy, food, and water security are tightly intertwined in rural Alaska And, in Tanana this is evidenced with the tight link to the land We needed $95,000 to pay the fuel bill It became obvious to them that you could fire that school Using the Garn units. The savings was going to be tremendous. Fuel oil probably runs $3.50 per gallon We have about 10,000 gallons in reserve So, if this quits for the year, we can still run off fuel oil for the year But, at $3.50 a gallon, this is significantly cheaper as far as the cost of the wood goes This facility consumed 20,000 gallons of heating fuel annually We have 3 Garn 2000 boilers and they burn around 200 cords of wood Which displaces around 20,000 gallons of imported petroleum Large scale mechanized harvesting, We can reduce the cost to 1/3 the typical cordwood cost in Tanana In many rural Alaska communities, the water plant is one of the biggest user of power Besides wood biomass, we’ve explored solar panels to generate electricity The solar panels on this roofline are 5.5 kW And, they’ve been operating flawlessly for over 12 – 13 years now And, they displace a significant amount off electricity That would otherwise be purchased from the local utility At $0.58 per kilowatt hour It’s kind of nice to go to a fish camp You don’t have to be there for a whole lot of time I went for 10 days one, and I loved it Put away a lot, jarred a lot of fish Opening a jar of salmon in the middle of winter, there’s nothing like it The Yukon River is the 2nd longest river in continental United States The Yukon supports a rich fishery of salmon Because the river is 1,700 miles long These fish have developed a gene pool that provides them energy to go long distances So, even though Tanana is 800 miles from the ocean, The fish that arrive are still rich in fish oil and are the mainstay of the residents The typical well at Tanana is only 60 foot deep And, the aquifer tends to run low during the spring time At that point, we have the draw water from the Yukon River and treat it Further than typically from the aquifer So, we intend too raise some monies and drill some new wells for this facility And, hopefully have a better source of underground water Energy for transportation and food are very tightly linked Until recently, Tanana was only accessible by air or water A new road has given the community access to cheaper food and fuel The road could not come to Tanana Tanana’s on the North side of the Yukon River And, the road terminates on the South side of the Yukon River Which is 6 miles upriver, so in the summertime Folks have to park their vehicle and boat to Tanana And, in the wintertime the City and the Tribe build an ice road From the terminus to Tanana We’ve done that for the first four years And, that allows us to have year-round Surface access during the winter months all the way from Tanana to urban Alaska The cost savings would be dramatic And, that’s proven to be the case Our freight costs are well less than half of the barge And, only an eighth to a quarter of the cost of air freight There’s been a significant cost of living savings by this pioneer road The central link between food, energy, and water in rural Alaska Is one that can determine a community’s health and future