In Sitka, about half of residents use heating fuel to keep warm in the winter. Another 40 percent use the electricity, produced by hydropower from a local dam. And there’s plenty of grumbling in town about an electric rate increase to pay for a recent hydro expansion project.
But one man in Sitka who has contentedly tinkered away at his own homegrown solution. Richard Parmelee warms his house with vegetable oil, donated by a local Chinese restaurant and McDonalds.
The Cost of Cold is a series from Alaska’s Energy Desk about how Alaskans around the state heat their homes. Reporter Emily Kwong produced this story in Sitka.