HSC January 2023 – Heat Pumps and Climate Planning

The Huna Stewardship Council met in January 2023 to talk about heat pumps with Michele Wilber from Alaska Center of Energy and Power and get an update on the climate adaptation planning process.

On the call : Ian Johnson, Arianna Lapke (U Michigan), Brynn Presler-Marshall, Mike Downs (USFS), Jillian Schrader (U Michigan), Michelle Wilber (ACEP), Nathan Moulton, Niccole Williams, Erica Drahozal, Oliva Guthrie, Nathan Green (ACEP), Ernestine Hanlon

What is ACEP?

Alaska Center for Energy and Power is a research group based on the University of Alaska Fairbanks. https://acep.uaf.edu/ They are researching “equitable electrification” in Alaska. What does that mean? It is the idea that you can have better economics (lower cost of energy) and lower carbon emissions from energy, and that those should be available to small and large communities. ACEP has been active in the IPEC rate study for heat pumps. Here are the results for Kake https://acep.uaf.edu/media/305617/Kake_HeatPumpRate_Analysis.pdf

Have a heat pump in Hoonah but are not part of the special rate? Go here http://www.insidepassageelectric.org/documents/Heat%20Pump%20Application.pdf

Michelle presented on Electrical Vehicles in Alaska. They have a resource for mapping how an Electrical Vehicle would last in your cliamte – while Central/Northern AK are not great conditions for an electric vehicle, an electric vehicle in SE AK is not climate limited


Community Discussion on Heat Pumps

After Michelle’s presentation we turned to community discussion and questions.

  • Who can install a heat pump? – need a qualified installer
  • How does a heat pump compare to wood in terms of cost? – need to look into that
  • What is current Hoonah fuel rate? – not sure, need to look into that
  • Does the constant movement of air create dust problems? – there are air filters on them
  • Does a change from baseboard heat to a heat pump put more moisture in the air? – not sure, need t o look into that
  • Can you have a solar linked heat pump? – yes, possible, although solar is best in the summer when you don’t need the heat
  • Can you do a rate analysis of your own? Yes, Alan Mitchell made an online tool to calculate if a heat pump can make sense for you
  • How many heat pumps are there in Hoonah? How many people are are enrolled in the IPEC rate program in Hoonah?- about 35

General Discussion

  • Multiple reports of very high electricity bills in Hoonah for households that have heatpumps. Generally seen as not viable here
  • Good to have a backup heat solution
  • Heat pumps lose efficiency at cold temepratures

Climate Adaptation Planning

We rounded out the evening by providing an update on our climate adaptation planning process. HIA has been working with a group of Masters students from University of Michigan. We’ll be hosting a community meeting on climate planning in early March. We have been working on the background of what climate change could mean for our resources and will be working with the community to think about what your biggest concerns are and what we can do about it (adaptation) . A couple community thoughts on the process

  • It’s improtant we are doing this, but feeling a bit unsure of where we are going and what we can do
  • Make sure City and Planning and Zoning are involved in the planning process

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