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Third Annual Alaska Sustainable Energy Conference Charts Course for Alaska’s Energy Future

May 23, 2024

This week, around 900 leaders, innovators, policy makers and other people interested in shaping the future of energy in Alaska and the world convened in Anchorage for the third annual Alaska Sustainable Energy Conference.

The conference highlighted how Alaska can help meet global energy needs through both legacy and emerging industries, as well as how technological advances will decrease the cost and increase the reliability of energy in Alaska.

“We started the Alaska Sustainable Energy Conference to educate the world on what Alaska has to offer. We’ve been successful in getting the word out that yes, Alaska is an oil and gas giant, but that’s just the beginning,” said Governor Mike Dunleavy. “The conversations over the past week will help move Alaska and the world forward toward solving challenges for our energy needs.”

On Monday, the Governor joined Alberta Premiere Danielle Smith on a panel at a pre-conference event hosted by the U.S Department of Energy Arctic Energy Office discussing the shared priorities, similar struggles and unique opportunities Alaska and Alberta have.

Tuesday marked the first day of the main conference and featured an overview of Alaska’s abundant resources and potential and a roundtable discussion with the U.S. Department of Energy. A lunch panel Tuesday also examined the future of fossil fuels and changes underway in the oil and gas industry, including how Santos and Repsol plan to develop the Pikka project as net-zero emissions by first oil.

Wednesday the conference explored trends in climate tech investment and the realities and potential for carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) in Alaska. Governor Dunleavy shared how landmark legislation recently passed by the Alaska Legislature will transform Alaska’s ability to capitalize on carbon storage capabilities and lower the cost of energy for Alaskans. The lunch keynote on Wednesday explained how resource development has impacted Alaskans who are nearest to projects and how involving community members and Alaska Native perspectives has benefited both developers and Alaskan communities. North Slope Borough Mayor Josiah Patkotak, The Kuskokwim Corporation President & CEO Andrea Gusty, and Greta Schuerch with Teck Alaska’s Red Dog Mine shared how self-determination for Alaska Native people and resource development work hand-in-hand in Alaska.

Thursday, Dr. Jeff Waksman provided an update on the Department of Defense’s Project Pele for the first mobile nuclear reactor, including the first-ever public pictures of the project components that will be assembled into a reactor in 2025. Thursday afternoon U.S. Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates Martina Strong shared her unique perspective on how the major hydrocarbon producer is setting a course for energy sustainability over the next 50 years. Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon took to the stage for a case study on how Wyoming successfully attracted investment for advanced nuclear power, and Assistant Secretary of the Army Rachel Jacobson shared how technological advances developed for the military can crossover to provide solutions for civilian energy needs.

In addition to these keynote presentations, the conference included dozens of breakout sessions on everything from the future of hydrogen to AI integration in the grid to the sustainable solutions for rural Alaska.