Thanks to Alaska Senator Lisa Murowski, Department of Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette, and many others, the Arctic Energy Office (AEO) has been reestablished. Lost and forgotten amid bureaucratic reshuffle, the Office is now being opened on the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ campus. The AEO will oversee and coordinate scientific research and matters of regional security pertaining to energy.
America’s Arctic Energy Strategy
Oil and natural gas are and will remain the cornerstones of America’s Arctic energy strategy. However, the AEO will work to maximize the responsible use of fossil fuels, and expand research into supplemental sources like nuclear and renewables. Already, nearly a quarter thousand Alaskan communities regularly utilize renewable energy sources.
Alaskans are subject to high energy costs due to the difficulty of transportation and lack of contiguous infrastructure. As a result, independent microgrids are the norm across a multitude of Alaskan communities. Per the AEO’s mission, innovation will be targeted toward reducing prices and increasing efficiency for both Alaska’s cities and far-flung communities.
Research will be conducted according to the U.S. Arctic Research Commission’s five outlined goals. The AEO will investigate environmental change, Arctic infrastructure development, Alaskan public health outcomes, natural resource conditions, and possibilities for enhancing international scientific collaboration.
Purpose of the AEO
The AEO will also study the effects of “diminished physical and geopolitical barriers to resource access” on American regional security. With the Trump Administration and the Navy taking an interest in Alaska, the American Arctic is poised to undergo a revolution in investment and attention.
Decades of neglect have taken their toll, but the AEO’s establishment is a critical victory for America’s Arctic prospects. With proper organization, America can fulfill its responsibility to its Arctic citizens and create a safer, more prosperous High North.