Deputy Secretary Hayes Meets with Alaska Regional Leaders and Renewable Energy Experts



05/30/2012

 Contact: Adam Fetcher (202) 208-6416

ANCHORAGE, AK – Deputy Secretary of the Interior David J. Hayes today met with senior federal and state officials in Anchorage to ensure the continuing coordination of federal responsibilities related to energy permitting in Alaska. The visit was part of President Obama’s all-of-the-above energy strategy to safely and responsible expand domestic energy production and to coordinate energy development and permitting in Alaska.

“Alaska’s energy resources – onshore and offshore, conventional and renewable - hold great promise and economic opportunity for the people of Alaska and across the nation,” said Deputy Secretary Hayes, who serves as chair of the Interagency Working Group on Coordination of Domestic Energy Permitting in Alaska established in July by President Obama to coordinate energy development in Alaska. “While agencies across the Federal government have various responsibilities to ensure safe and responsible energy development in Alaska, it is more important than ever that federal reviews of energy projects proceed in an efficient and coordinated way, with the federal government speaking with one voice.”

As part of the Working Group’s ongoing efforts to advance renewable energy development in Alaska, Hayes met with Alaska renewable energy experts to discuss ways to promote small-scale wind energy solutions for rural Alaskan villages. The meeting was one in a series of recent initiatives by state and federal policy-makers to address the energy challenges facing rural Alaskans—particularly in off-the-grid, rural Alaska villages—and build upon the success of Alaska’s growing renewable energy sector.

“Access to reliable, affordable energy remains a significant problem in rural Alaska,” added Hayes. “One potential solution can be found in Alaska’s abundant wind resources. With a number of successful wind energy projects underway across the state, from Kodiak to Kotzebue, the time is ripe to apply lessons learned and support similar projects in isolated but renewable energy-rich villages in Alaska. We look forward to working closely with the state, rural energy providers, NGOs and others who have already devoted significant time and resources to address these challenges.”

Meeting participants included state leaders in Alaska renewable energy, including utilities, state and federal officials, Alaska Native organizations, members of the academic community, non-governmental organizations and industry.

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