Going Geothermal in Alaska
Energy and the Environment
Bruce Burwell is currently serving as a VISTA Energy Program Member for the Rural Alaska Community Action Program, Inc in Tenakee Springs, Alaska. In rural Alaskan communities, the cost of energy is extremely high. Bruce decided to look into the community’s natural hot springs as a potential energy source.
Starting his year, Bruce began to educate himself on the application and process of developing geothermal power. After he attended a geothermal conference, where he learned a lot of the technical information, he organized a series of community presentations to educate his town. He was able to organize volunteers and raise funding to fly in three geothermal experts he met at the conference. Over 90 people attended the two events--quite a crowd for a town of 150.
Bruce also went door to door talking to people and soon became the “Geothermal Guy” of the town.
By the time they finished these presentations, everyone in Tenakee was talking about geothermal power. The community took action and supported Bruce by gathering resources and donations to bring in someone from the Alaska Center for Energy and Power to spend a week testing well temperatures, getting water samples, surveying the geology of the area, and mapping out the hot springs and hot water seepages. Currently, Tenakee is looking at testing an area that is about two miles out of town.