Murkowski Welcomes Deputy Secretary of Energy in Alaska

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, this week welcomed U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Deputy Secretary Dan Brouillette to Alaska to see energy-related opportunities and challenges across the state. During the trip, Brouillette visited operations on the North Slope, toured remote villages working to reduce their cost of energy, and met with local stakeholders.

“This was a great opportunity for Dan to visit more of Alaska, to see firsthand how we contribute to our nation’s energy security, and to learn about the innovation taking place throughout our state,” Senator Murkowski said. “I thank the Deputy Secretary for making the trip, for spending so much time here, and for everything he and his team are doing to form a strong partnership between the Department and Alaska. This was a truly wonderful couple of days that we appreciate and will build on.”

“It was an honor to see the incredible capabilities and meet with the gracious people of beautiful Alaska this past week. I want to thank Senator Lisa Murkowski for hosting me and showing me the vast energy potential of the state,” said Deputy Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette. “Together, we can harness innovation to increase sustainable and responsible energy development, providing a future of security, prosperity, and opportunity for Alaska and America.”

During the visit, Murkowski and Brouillette visited Kwigillingok and Kongiganak, rural villages in western Alaska that are transitioning their microgrids off diesel to more affordable and sustainable energy. By utilizing locally available energy sources like wind, Kwigillingok is able to be off diesel for at least one-third of the year, while Kongiganak’s wind penetration for the electrical grid is at 30-40 percent. Both villages also have battery storage and can use excess wind energy to power thermal heaters, further reducing diesel consumption and local heating costs.

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In Kwigillingok

Murkowski and Brouillette also visited one of the Alaska Volcano Observatory’s (AVO) monitoring stations on Mount Spurr, which is one of the highest-threat volcanoes in the nation. The site visit provided an opportunity to hear about the work AVO is doing to track Alaska’s 52 high-threat volcanoes, including efforts to improve warning capabilities that protect people, communities, and critical infrastructure.

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At AVO’s Mount Spurr Monitoring Station

In Anchorage, Murkowski and Brouillette participated in the Alaska Federation of Natives’ roundtable at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson centered on “Northernmost Border Security.” The roundtable included policy discussions about how diminishing sea ice in the Arctic is providing greater access to the region and its resources. This is opening a window for new economic and geopolitical opportunities while also creating new challenges.

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Participating in AFN’s Northernmost Border Security Roundtable

Murkowski is chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. Brouillette was confirmed by the Senate with strong bipartisan support in 2017. Murkowski previously hosted Brouillette in Alaska in 2017, when they traveled to the Chena Renewable Energy Fair and visited a number of energy stakeholders in the Fairbanks region, including the Cold Climate Housing Research Center.