That’s a Wrap - Takeaways and ‘Aha’ Moments From the Alaska Sustainable Energy Conference

That’s a Wrap - Takeaways and ‘Aha’ Moments From the Alaska Sustainable Energy Conference

The first Alaska Sustainable Energy Conference concluded last week after an action-packed three days of panel discussions, speakers, and exhibitors at the Dena’ina Center in Anchorage. 

The three-day conference brought together visionaries, industry experts, researchers and policymakers from across the world to join in conversations that directly relate to Alaska’s future as an independent and sustainable energy state. With 500 people in attendance and some 90 speakers who participated in keynote speeches and panel discussions, the opportunity for networking, learning and being an active participant in Alaska’s renewable energy discussion was ripe for the taking.  

ASEC sponsor and Alaska Governor, Mike Dunleavy, shared in both his opening and closing remarks, “I hope if nothing else people come away from this conference with one ‘Aha!’ moment. Something that you will take back with you to where you came from.”

We decided to go into the crowd and pull aside attendees and ask them what their takeaways were or “Aha!” moments were from the conference. Here is what they said. 

Una Edwardson - Alaska Native Renewable Industries, "There’s so much enthusiasm. We’re in the beginning phase of our business, we need more education in renewables, and being at this conference I see it is coming."

Sherry Sneezer - Rochester Institute of Technology, Golisano Institute of Sustainability, “It was really interesting to speak with the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Indian Energy Policy and Programs, Dan Smith, who gave me more context and insight into the history of Alaska and the things that have happened in the past that shaped current policies.” 

Lindy Guernsey - University of Alaska Fairbanks,  “It was awesome to see the breadth of experts brought here from not only Alaska, but from all over the world to share their perspective. I see that there are a lot of possible energy solutions and that we don’t need to pigeon hole ourselves into one just yet.”   

 Bernie Smith - Energy of Alaska, “I’m really excited about these micro-nuclear solutions that are being explored and think that they could be real life-changers for hubs in rural Alaska. If done the right way, micro-nuclear could provide reasonable and cost-effective energy to communities while keeping people living where they want to live.”   

George Roe - U.S. Department of Energy Arctic Energy Office, “For me success was to look around the room and see people talking to people who I knew they didn't know from before. Seeing this mix going on was really gratifying.”   

For the first ever Alaska Sustainable Energy Conference, the goal of bringing together visionaries, researchers, and policymakers who represent the renewable energy sector was achieved and should be much applauded, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t room for improvement. ASEC hopes to receive feedback from attendees on ways in which to improve upon the conference for next year. To provide feedback for next year’s conference go to