2015 - Fairbanks, AK
Videos from the 2015 Arctic Energy Summit located HERE.
Presentations from the 2015 Arctic Energy Summit located HERE.
A Regional Approach to Energy -
When describing the Arctic, expressions such as “The Last Frontier” or “High North” are often used to describe what many consider a remote and distant region, with an implication of conquering, taking, and leaving. A regional and comprehensive approach, in contrast, demands investment, development, empowerment and taking ownership – on behalf of and with the peoples of the North. Extractive energy resource development typically is related to the creation of wealth for governments, communities, and the private sector. Renewable energy resources are different in that often they are deployed for domestic power and heat. The development of the Arctic must therefore balance the application of energy resources with the external and internal needs of the communities of the north – with the goal of using Arctic energy resources for the benefit of all northern residents.
Sustainable Development -
Energy is a fundamental component of sustainable development and is a crucial element of both human development and economic activity, balanced with protection of the environment and respect for traditional ways of living. The Arctic is abundant in energy resources – from oil and gas to wind, solar, hydrokinetic and geothermal – yet residents of the Arctic pay some of the highest energy prices in the world. To take advantage of great energy and resource wealth potential, policy makers, community leaders, academia, and the private sector must work together to develop resources prudently, facilitate access to affordable energy, and developpolicies balancing risk mitigation, cultural integrity, and economic opportunity.
Richness, Resilience and Responsibility -
Responsible development and utilization of Arctic energy resources have great potential to spur community and economic resilience. But richness includes many types of wealth – energy and resources, ecological, social systems, and cultures. Because of this, and in an effort to achieve balance and security, it is worth highlighting that richness has scales and a direct relationship to responsibility. Responsibility is of fundamental concern because of the increase in interest and activity in the Arctic that affects the people of the north, especially indigenous peoples, which means rights-holder interests must be protected and respected. The Arctic Energy Summit acknowledges that there will always be an element of risk in resource development, thus Arctic nations must be committed to responsibility, benefits to communities, and mitigation of acceptable risk.Approaching Arctic energy by recognizing richness and committing to responsibility results in a more resilient
region. Resilience can be defined as the capacity of a social-ecological system to cope with disturbance, responding or reorganizing in ways that maintain its essential function, identity, and structure, while also maintaining the capacity for adaptation, learning and transformation. Energy is a foundational element of this system.
Development in the Arctic should encompass and respond to the needs of local peoples, communities, and economies; as well as the global implications of activity in the region. Human security in the Arctic depends on numerous factors, many of which – infrastructure, healthcare, education, and economic opportunity – are impacted by resource development. Careful consideration needs to be taken by regulators and companiesbefore development occurs. However, there should also be a focus on maximizing the potential benefits while eliminating risks to local communities, some of which might be traditional or subsistence-based economies. Diversification in power generation systems is needed, but developments in diesel and end user technologyis far more important to rural communities in the short term than developing alternative generation sources. A wide array of energy production, storage, and transfer technology is under development. This technology seeks to improve the present infrastructure by increasing capacity, production, and inter-modal design. Thisdevelopment would allow for a wide variety of sources to be used in the generation of power, increasing itsability to be used in different environments. All systems are unique to remote communities, which makes itchallenging to know how to best stabilize a system while integrating new systems.