"The use of woody biomass as an alternative energy source remains largely untapped," said Ron Wolfe, Sealaska natural resources manager. "With diesel and fuel costs continuing to rise, it's vital that we investigate alternative sources of sustainable energy. We believe that wood biomass is a promising alternative."
Sealaska Board Chair Albert Kookesh said: "This (letter of intent) is one of several Sealaska initiatives designed to stimulate the Southeast Alaska economy."
Both parties will collaborate on a business plan to source, construct, operate market and distribute wood biomass energy to the residential and commercial markets. The goal is to better understand the potential for using wood products in pellets, briquettes or dry chips suitable for boilers. Wood products are already being used throughout Europe and could provide solutions to high energy costs in rural Southeast Alaska while also alleviating the costs of disposing of wood products for Sealaska and Viking Lumber.
"I'm looking forward to providing an alternate fuel source for Southeast Alaska residential and commercial users," said Kirk Dahlstrom, Viking Lumber general manager.
Sealaska said it is committed to resource stewardship and is well positioned to contribute wood product from its land base for development of alternative energy. There is potential for additional resources from other private, state and federal land holdings in the region. Sealaska also continues to study alternate fuel development for the region such as biodiesel or ethanol.