ENVIRONMENT
02/21/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Sarah Palin's Lofty Green Energy Goal For Alaska

The New York Times' Green Inc. blog reports that Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is nudging her state to embrace green energy for the future, calling for half of Alaska's electricity to be produced by renewable sources by 2025:

Experts say that Alaska probably has the country's best geothermal, wind, tidal and wave resources. But many of these energy sources are hard to tap effectively because they are far from population centers. Still, energy costs in many Alaskan villages are high, providing long-term incentives to switch.

The Alaska legislature has already authorized a $100 million fund for renewable energy projects. None of the money has yet been dispersed, but according to The Anchorage Daily News, 77 projects, ranging from wind farms to landfill gas recovery, are about to begin receiving funding.

Ms. Palin is not the only governor to roll out renewable energy promises recently. Last week, Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick unveiled a big wind power push, with a goal of getting enough wind power by 2020 to meet the equivalent of 10 percent of the state's current electricity needs.

It wasn't so long ago, really, that Palin changed her stance on climate change to say that it's "potentially" man made, in part.

Point is, even if she doesn't believe that, or believes it potentially (in part), Alaska is an extreme example of how cost plays into cleaner energy technology -- in this case and many others, favorably so.

But the Juneau Empire had this headline: Palin releases energy "plan."

Why in quotation marks?

It won quick praise from environmental groups for its call for shifting from fossil fuels to renewable sources, such as wind, hydro, tidal and geothermal, but Palin and energy advisor Steven Haagenson also revealed that the plan isn't actually a plan for action. Instead, it is a list of resources on which local communities may use to develop their own solutions.

The 245-page document is called "Alaska Energy: A first step toward energy independence." A complete database of community resources brings it to more than 1,000 pages, Haagenson said.