High oil prices provide abundant state revenue, but have drastic impacts on all aspects of life in our state. Elevated fuel prices challenge communities and stifle businesses. Alaska needs to prudently invest windfall oil revenues in energy projects that provide long-term economic relief to our communities.
Energy is key to improving our economy and quality of life. Investments in energy infrastructure lower the cost of living for families and attract new business. Currently 80% of households in Southeast Alaska heat with expensive diesel fuel. Hydroelectrical projects provide renewable energy that grows our economy by lowering the cost of power. This is crucial to energize shoreside seafood plants, manufacturing, and mining ventures. The Legislature has made major investments in energy infrastructure. Hydro projects at Blue Lake in Sitka, Whitman Lake in Ketchikan, Thayer Lake in Angoon, and Gartina Falls in Hoonah vastly improve energy security in Southeast. I've also worked to fund construction of interties between Petersburg and Kake, and Metlakatla and Ketchikan to connect rural communities to electricity and bring down energy costs.
Tackling Alaska's energy issues also requires incentives for weatherization and home energy improvements, and help for communities hit hardest by spikes in energy prices. These programs have saved Alaskans households thousands of dollars in direct energy savings, and put technology to use making our communities more efficient. Alternative energy projects in hydroelectric power, biomass, wind energy, and geothermal technologies are being developed with funding through the Renewable Energy Grant Fund to decrease the cost of energy. The Legislature has invested over $202 million in the fund, which has reduced energy costs for Alaskans, saving millions of gallons of diesel fuel.