Lt. Gov. Mallott views growth in energy sector as Alaska’s future

Meeting of Governor Walker’s Climate Action Leadership team, chaired by Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott, on the University of Alaska Fairbanks Campus, in Fairbanks, Alaska, April 12, 2018. (Photo by David Lienemann, Office of Governor Bill Walker / Flickr)

Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott sees a future for renewable energy in Alaska.

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Mallott dropped by Kodiak last week for a fundraising event, and in an interview with KMXT, said Alaska needs to focus on transitioning from a fossil-fuel based economy to more renewable resources, like hydro and wind power.

Mallott said it could take a while to make that switch.

“I expect that it will be a combination of the market place for such fuels and public policy that will drive that timing, and that has really not come into focus yet, certainly at the national level,” Mallott said.

Mallott says it’s vital to the state’s economy to diversify its industries and, within those industries, to branch out. It’s the same for energy.

“The imperative for Alaska is certainly one of doing its part to reduce emissions globally, but it is also an opportunity that we view economically that investing in new forms of energy, reducing the cost of energy across our state, makes us more competitive as a state,” Mallott said.

Mallott said Alaska needs to take steps to plan ahead.

In an effort to do that, Mallott is chairing the Climate Action for Alaska Leadership Team, which was established last year and is made up of citizen representatives from across the state.

Mallott said the group has drafted a climate change policy that’s up for public review and the governor’s office is in the process of prioritizing those items and figuring out how to act on them.

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Kayla Deroches is a reporter at KMXT in Kodiak.