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Energy is a building block for Alaska’s future

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Energy is non-negotiable in the modern world. Centuries of progress have made it a staple in almost every facet of daily life, from home to business. This is especially true in the extremes of Alaska, where reliable access to electricity and fuel can be the difference between survival and tragedy. Despite all the technological advancements, however, America’s energy infrastructure has not kept pace.

Inaccessible by transmission lines, too many remote communities in Alaska remain cut off from reliable and affordable electricity and depend on imported diesel. Those of us who are more fortunate still face high costs.

These problems, however, are not limited to Alaska. Over the past year, the contiguous United States has provided many examples. When Texans were hit by a deep freeze and left without heat or power, millions of Americans experienced some of the very real vulnerabilities in our system. In late spring, we saw the East Coast hit by a breach that closed its main pipeline. Now that summer is in full swing, Western states’ access to electricity is on the brink of collapse.

With the ongoing infrastructure negotiations, Congress can lay the foundation necessary to fuel life in the 21st century. According to the American Society of Civil Engineers account, the energy infrastructure of the United States and Alaska is gaining a paltry C-minus. Unless steps are taken to strengthen the energy network from generation to transmission, the country is at risk not only of the current quality of life and affordability, but also of the long-term economic benefits and security of independence. energetic.

As a lifelong Alaskan, I saw with my own eyes before and after the first major investment in Arctic infrastructure – the Trans-Alaska Pipeline. The construction of the pipeline changed our way of life and provided countless opportunities for families and communities in Alaska. The pipeline meant an opportunity to grow our economy, a relatively stable budget for the state, and for many access to important critical infrastructure for the first time – new roads, greater reach for electricity, better schools. , increased access to medical care and jobs. In turn, these benefits led to self-determination, self-actualization, and freedom that those in the lower 48 had already started to take for granted. With just one infrastructure project, Alaska’s future – and indeed the country’s – has changed forever.

With the support of federal lawmakers, Alaska and the United States can once again benefit from the transformative nature of energy infrastructure and innovation. Advances in science and engineering now allow us to harness our environment for power generation more efficiently, affordably and sustainably than ever before, opening a new frontier for energy development. There is perhaps no better place to expand our energy renaissance than to apply clean, renewable technology to Alaska.

Alaska’s geographic diversity is among the most unique in the world. From geothermal power to wind, wave, solar and hydroelectric power, there is the potential to develop energy assets and create jobs in all corners of the state. In doing so, Alaska can not only continue its legacy of powering the United States and providing invaluable energy security, but also deliver tangible benefits to the people of Alaska and their communities, just as I have been. witness growing up.

Senator Lisa Murkowski, Senator Dan Sullivan and Congressman Don Young have always championed the energy produced in Alaska. Continuing this support by embracing the clean energy technologies of the next era is important to ensure that the state continues on a positive trajectory. From supporting the 2020 Energy Law to a myriad of clean energy bill sponsorships, it’s clear our delegation agrees.

I am proud of the work Alaska’s leaders are doing to strengthen our nation’s energy infrastructure and appreciate the invaluable role Senator Murkowski has played in negotiating a project-driven infrastructure package that invests no not only in roads, bridges, ports and broadband, but also in new renewable energy projects that power our communities and lower energy costs for so many of our residents. I commend our Congressional delegation for staying the course and standing up for Alaska’s interests every day.

Lesil McGuire is a longtime Alaskan, former state senator, women’s and rural advocate, and mother. She lives in Anchorage and works as a consultant in the aerospace, technological innovation and arctic policy sectors.

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