High-energy costs for heating, electricity and transportation are an economic burden on the residents, businesses and organizations of Slana. While fossil fuels play a key role in meeting current energy demands, renewable resources are likely to meet future demands. This plan provides an overview of Slana’s energy issues, needs, projects and priorities. It will serve as a guide for future energy projects in the community and incorporated into the broader Copper River Basin Regional Energy Plan.
Location: Slana stretches along the Nabesna Road, which runs south of the Tok Cutoff at mile 63. It lies at the junction of the Slana and Copper Rivers, 53 miles southwest of Tok.
Climate: Slana experiences a continental climate, with long, cold winters and relatively warm summers. Temperature extremes range from -62 to 91 °F. Annual snowfall averages 61 inches, with 13 inches of precipitation.
Regional: The Copper River Basin is classified as an “Unorganized Borough” thus; there is no regional or municipal government in the region.
Local: Slana Community Corporation – Slana League
Population & Growth Rates: 147 (2011 Alaska Department of Labor Estimate) According to US Census data, the population of Slana has been increasing over the past 3 decades: 2010 = 147 - 2000 = 124 1990 = 63
Economy: A roadside lodge provides groceries, gas, liquor, an auto mechanic, and RV parking. Other local businesses include a general store, art gallery, canoe rental, bed & breakfast, snow machine sales, and solar panel sales. A Park Ranger Station and state highway maintenance camp are located nearby. Subsistence activities supplement income.
Number Employed: 54
Unemployment Rate: 48.1%
Not in Labor Force: 43.2%
Private Sector Employment:
Public Sector Employed: 33.3%
Subsistence: The majority of the residents participate in subsistence activities year-round.
Average Median Household Income: $40,489
Per Capita Income: $15,916
Below Poverty Level: 50.2%
Transportation: Slana has road access to the statewide system via Glenn and Richardson Highways. The nearest public airstrip is to the south at Chistochina, but a 1,200' by 100' private gravel airstrip exists.
Housing: Households - types of housing – heating fuel used
Water/Sewer: Individual wells are the primary source of water in Slana; others draw water from Rufus Creek. The schools operate individual wells. Outhouses, honeybuckets, and septic systems are used for sewage disposal. Approximately one-third of the homes have complete plumbing.
Solid Waste: The landfill was closed in 1990.
Electricity: Alaska Power Company
Home Heating: Oil/wood
Gasoline/Diesel: A gasoline station is located in the community
ENERGY RESOUCRES, PROJECTS AND PRIORITIES Renewable Energy Resources Biomass: The Copper River Basin contains abundant biomass resources that could displace expensive heating oil for homes and community facilities to reduce costs and potentially create local jobs in the community.
Wind: Site-specific tests and feasibility studies need to be conducted to determine the potential of this resource.
Hydro: Reconnaissance studies are currently underway on Carlson Creek
Solar: Long daylight hours from spring until fall would indicate that solar energy may be a viable resource to reduce energy costs.
Solar Thermal: Hot water typically represents a significant percentage of residential energy costs and most homes and facilities in Slana require small amounts of heat at night that is currently provided by oil or wood. Solar thermal may provide a viable resource to replace oil and/or wood.
Solar Electric: According to most experts, the technology for solar electricity is not yet developed to make it financially feasible for Alaska. Studies are needed to determine the feasibility solar thermal.
Geothermal: Although geothermal is believed to exist in this region, cost would be prohibitive for a small community to conduct reconnaissance studies or develop the resource.
4) Human Resources: Slana has limited staffing to work on energy projects. Given the importance of reducing energy costs to the community there is need to create adequate staffing to address energy issues identified in this plan.
Plan(s): Form an Energy Committee to address energy issues – prioritize energy issues with exiting staff/programs where appropriate - seek additional funding for human resources to address energy issues
Participation in Regional and Statewide Energy Planning: Regional and statewide energy projects can potentially reduce energy costs for Slana and the community needs to ensure they have a voice in the decisions that are made.
Plan: Participate in regional and statewide energy planning
Demographics and Energy Data Sheet
Population: 147 (2011)
Composition: 122 white – 19 Alaska Native – 6 Other
Growth rates: 1990 = 63 - 2000 = 124 – 2010 = 147
# Employed: 54 – Unemployment Rate: 48.1% – Not in Labor Force: 48.2% Public Sector Employment: 33.3% - Median Income: $40,489 – Per Capita Income: $15,916 – Below Poverty: 50.2%