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Energy sources - the world vs. the north

February 09, 2014

The world derives more than 80% of its energy from fossil fuels—the same in the north. But the last 20% of energy sources are quite different in the north vs. the rest of the world.

World wide about 10% comes from ‘combustible renewables’ such as biomass; 3% from nuclear energy; 3.4% from hydro power; 1.5% from solar or geothermal; and 0.7% from biofuels like ethanol.

In Alaska,  about 30% of electricity is produced from hydro power. In Yukon, the percentage is above 90%; in Greenland 75%; in NWT perhaps 25% and none in Nunavut.

Biomass energy production makes up less than 1% of northern energy production. Certainly individual homeowners burn wood in Alaska, Yukon and NWT, but community biomass energy production is rare.

There is no nuclear energy production in the northern 1/3 of North America.

Alaska has some small sites (Chenai Hot Springs) using geothermal energy production.

In northern Canada there are a few wind energy sites but production is not significant compared to hydro sources. Alaska has a number of communities using wind power and a large wind farm near Anchorage (Fire Island).


Compared to the rest of the world the north has a high percentage of hydro power and a much lower reliance on ‘combustible renewables’, nuclear and biofuels.