Diverse issues discussed at the 2024 Alaska Sustainable Energy Conference

June 11, 2024

ACEP Director Jeremy Kasper speaks on a panel.
Photo by Amanda Byrd
ACEP Director Jeremy Kasper speaks on a panel discussing renewable energy integration during the 2024 Alaska Sustainable Energy Conference.

The Alaska Sustainable Energy Conference took place in Anchorage in May. This year’s theme was “Transforming Energy Now for the Next 50 Years,” focusing on real-world examples in Alaska and around the globe that demonstrate progress in energy transitions.

A variety of topics were covered, ranging from the future of natural gas to the latest advancements in renewable energy around the state. A wide range of topics on energy in rural Alaska were also covered.

ACEP’s Shivani Mathur Baghat found the topics fascinating and learned about a diverse spectrum of energy issues in Alaska.

Baghat, who is on ACEP’s Beneficial and Equitable Electrification, or BEE team, was one of the panelists on the session, “BEE Smart: Community-centered energy solutions for an electrified future.” The session panel included Michelle Wilber and Tom Marsik, also on the BEE team, and BobDeering of Alaska Heat Smart, and was moderated by ACEP’s Brittany Smart.

The most impressive aspect of the conference to Baghat was the opportunity to interact with various communities, organizations and individuals driving the energy transition in Alaska.

“Engaging in my first panel discussion alongside an excellent panel was a highlight, as was witnessing the audience's enthusiasm and interest in discussions surrounding beneficial and equitable electrification,” she said.

Attending ASEC was also a great experience for Alexis Francisco. Transitioning to sustainable energy requires a lot of utility and policy decisions and she said it was reassuring to witness many discussions at the conference on the associated challenges and opportunities.

Alexis Francisco visits a vendor booth during the 2024 Alaska Sustainable Energy Conference.
Photo by Amanda Byrd/ACEP
Alexis Francisco, research professional with ACEP, visits a vendor booth during the 2024 Alaska Sustainable Energy Conference.

“I liked that utilities shared the challenges of operating an electric grid in Alaska, especially providing power in remote communities,” Francisco said. “In those communities, the challenges are not limited to just about importing fuel and products, but also selecting stable ground for power poles.”

Building connections with fellow ACEP colleagues and other attendees, as well as talking with the exhibitors to learn about their companies and products, was rewarding to many.

And the Alaska Railroad excursion was a plus.

“[It] provided a delightful opportunity to appreciate the beauty of Alaska, which never fails to uplift the spirit,” Bhagat said.