Alaska's Energy Desk

Alaska’s Energy Desk is a collaboration between KTOO-FM in Juneau, Alaska Public Media in Anchorage, KUCB in Unalaska, Fairbanks Daily News-Miner in Fairbanks, KBRW in Utqiaġvik and KYUK in Bethel. Each week we produce in-depth coverage of energy issues in Alaska for radio, video and web. From the state budget to personal energy use, resource development to Arctic life, we cover how energy issues impact Alaskan lives and landscapes. Alaska’s Energy Desk is a Regional Journalism Collaboration, launched in 2016 with a supporting grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Guitar maker opts for more sustainable Sitka spruce

A little piece of Alaska has helped create some of the music industry’s biggest hits. Sitka spruce is a prized “tonewood” used to make guitars and violins. But one guitar company is pushing back and asking the feds and music insiders to reconsider clear cut logging in the Tongass National Forest. Listen Now

Rising seas, peat may have caused Ice Age extinction event

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A research paper published yesterday says large ice age mammals may have gone extinct in northern Alaska when grassland turned to peat and rising sea levels covered the Bering Land Bridge. Download Audio

Ask a Climatologist: What is polar amplification?

The Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet. Brettschneider says it’s a phenomenon called polar amplification. Listen now
Map showing the region of ANWR (Shiri Segal/Alaska Public Media)

Seismic work in ANWR this winter? Time will tell.

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SAExploration hopes to collect data within the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge before the government holds an oil lease sale next summer.

Scientists warn Arctic “refrigerator” is failing, with global consequences

Still melting – and melting fast. That’s the basic take-away from the federal government’s annual Arctic Report Card. It finds that Arctic ocean temperatures are increasing and sea ice is declining at the fastest rate in at least 1500 years. Listen now

Could there be seismic in the Arctic Refuge this winter after all?

During the final public meeting in Alaska on oil leasing in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, a top Interior official said there could be some seismic exploration there this winter, after all.

BlueCrest neighbors adjust to life near a bustling oil pad

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Residents of a tiny Kenai Peninsula subdivision near Anchor Point thought they had a little slice of peace and quiet. But a tract of homestead land to the south held an oil test well. And now it’s home to 38 acres of an active oil well, processing train, natural gas flare, workers’ camp, truck filling station and a five-story rig that is about to start drilling 30 more wells. LISTEN NOW

ConocoPhillips’ big new find on the North Slope could help replenish pipeline

On Jan. 13, ConocoPhillips announced a major oil find in the National Petroleum-Reserve Alaska (NPR-A). The company is calling it the Willow Discovery. Experts say coupled with several other recent big discoveries in the region, it could portend a new wave of oil development on the North Slope. If developed, it could go a long ways toward replenishing the Trans-Alaska Pipeline. Listen now

A warming Arctic means a change of plans for offshore drilling project

As the Arctic warms, Hilcorp is already having to tweak its proposal to accommodate climate change. And future companies looking to drill offshore in the Arctic may have additional changes to plan for. Listen now
A silver sign that says "The Pebble Partnership"

Pebble’s owner reports growing deficit and doubts about its future. Again.

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A spokesman says Pebble remains confident. The parent company says it's lost $40 million so far this year, and has a deficit over $400 million.

A second ‘blob’ marine heat wave disappeared but warming trend will continue, scientists say

The first blob decimated fisheries, caused a mass seabird die-off, and spurred toxic algal blooms up and down the coast. As Alaska braced for the second heat wave, it disappeared — at least for now.

Ask a Climatologist: 2017 was hot around the globe, warm in Alaska

Across the globe, 2017 was the second hottest year on record, just behind 2016, according to a European Union monitoring center. Temperatures in Alaska last year were a bit more moderate. 2017 was the 13th warmest year on record. Listen now

Scientists agree starvation killed hundreds of puffins, but did PSP play a role?

What caused more than 300 puffins to wash up dead in the Pribilof Islands last fall? Starvation. At least, that’s the consensus among most scientists. Listen now

With spring whaling around the corner, sinew thread makers are hard at work

“Everything just falls into place,” says Nancy Leavitt of the hard work involved in sinew thread making. “The problems, the stress, the thoughts you have. Most of them just disappear.”

St. Paul’s fur seal pups at lowest level in 100 years

Northern fur seal pup production on St. Paul Island has hit its lowest level since 1915. Listen now

Fire Island Wind sees expansion on the horizon

After years of talks and setbacks, there’s momentum to expand the Fire Island Wind project. The first turbines started spinning on the island near Anchorage four years ago, but a planned expansion has been stalled ever since. Listen now

Wolves and logging both cut into Prince of Wales deer

This deer season has been the worst in recent memory for a lot of hunters on Prince of Wales Island. Large-scale industrial logging has damaged important winter habitat, and some locals believe a rapidly growing wolf population is also devouring the deer. Listen now

Juneau crowd questions forest service on new roads in the Tongass

The controversial initiative, which was announced in August, is up against a November deadline. Listen now

Former military leaders fight on the side of lease sales in the Arctic

More than a dozen former military leaders jumped into a fight over offshore drilling in the Arctic yesterday, asking the Department of the Interior to allow lease sales in Alaska’s Arctic. Download Audio

Forecast: $80 oil at decade’s end

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The International Energy Agency is predicting the return of higher oil prices, but not soon enough to end the gut punch to Alaska’s budget. Download Audio