ACEP, ISER Help Galena Work toward a Long-Term Energy Plan

ACEP, ISER Help Galena Work toward a Long-Term Energy Plan

The Yukon River community of Galena is working toward a long-term energy plan, and ACEP and the Institute of Social and Economic Research are helping.

Researchers from ACEP and ISER were in Galena on Oct. 25 to hear community members’ thoughts and ideas on the future of energy in the community. The visit was part of the Community Appropriate Sustainable Energy Security partnership, an international research initiative involving 15 northern and Indigenous communities and public and private sector partners from Canada, Alaska, Sweden and Norway. The overarching goal of the CASES initiative is to reimagine energy security in northern and Indigenous communities by creating and brokering the knowledge, understanding and capacity to design, implement and manage renewable energy systems that support and enhance social and economic values. 

Diane Hirshberg, director of ISER and the principal investigator for Alaska’s CASES team, was joined in Galena by University of Saskatchewan and ACEP research fellow Kate Robb, Alaska fellow Yu Cao, ACEP’s assistant storyteller Jeff Fisher and UAF eCampus’ Ian Borowski.

As a step toward creating a long-term community energy plan, the visit served as an opportunity for discussions with community members about potential energy options for Galena, as well as what a more sustainable energy system would mean for Galena’s future.

Galena has already taken big steps toward making its energy system more sustainable. One initiative is its biomass heating system, which helps to heat the Galena Interior Learning Academy – Alaska’s longest operating residential vocational school. Installed in 2016, the system uses wood chips from timber harvested by Sustainable Energy for Galena Alaska, a nonprofit joint initiative between the City of Galena, Louden Tribal Council and the Galena City School District. This biomass heating system and the heat sales framework created by SEGA, led by Tim Kalke, now serves a model for other communities to learn from.

For more information on Galena’s biomass system, click here:

For more information on the CASES partnership, click here:


Galena residents participate in a group exercise at the CASES community meeting. Photo by Jeff Fisher.