Time to walk the walk

Try explaining Alaska's energy situation to people from Outside and they look at you a bit strange.

Residents of one of the most resource-rich areas of the world end up paying outrageous prices for that which surrounds us. And despite everyone across the state complaining about it, nothing gets done.

Born out of that frustration have come two major lines of thought -- a natural gas pipeline from the North Slope and a shotgun approach to developing alternative energy sources.

While most of the ideas that have come forth merit further consideration, it seems that all we do is propose ideas and then think about it. There are so many ideas floating around that we're constantly trapped in our own collective thought bubble.

We talk and talk until we're sick of hearing our own voices. But none of the projects have come to fruition and those in power think the solution is more dialogue while winter puts a hurting on our pocket books.

For the sake of argument, let's set aside the gas line idea for a moment and look at what else we have got going on. There are already projects in the works or in development for tidal, geothermal, wind, hydro, coal gasification and a number of others.

Clearly the science is up to snuff, much of the research money from the state is already there, but what we are lacking is the collective drive.

We have managed to turn a necessity into pure rhetoric.

Let's focus, get these ideas off the drawing board, roll up our sleeves and get to work on shoring up our energy future. For too long we have waited for a solution from the North Slope or Juneau when there are opportunities in our back yard.

Putting all of our eggs into one basket -- natural gas -- won't last forever. New production will meet demand in the near future, but let's use what we have now to bridge us to the future.

Much like decades ago with oil, we believe Alaska can be a leader in new energy. But this time, let's make sure we take care of ourselves -- from the tundra to the panhandle -- before outside.

We applaud the efforts already in work -- namely the Mount Spurr geothermal and the Cook Inlet tidal generation projects -- and thank our legislators who saw fit to send us funds to spur these developments.

But funding alone won't do anything. Legislators and officials should put these projects on the fast track and, as residents, we need to show a commitment to those same projects.

We are about to head into a winter with no new sources of generation online.

Let's start moving some dirt.

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