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AlaskaX: Powering Resilient Communities: A Holistic Approach to Food, Energy, and Water Security

A research-based course on resilient renewable energy solutions, with an emphasis on microgrids, and Food, Energy, and Water (FEW) security.

Powering Resilient Communities: A Holistic Approach to Food, Energy, and Water Security
4 weeks
4–6 hours per week
Progress at your own speed
Optional upgrade available

There is one session available:

After a course session ends, it will be archivedOpens in a new tab.
Starts Feb 28
Ends Jun 30

About this course

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This course provides research-based and on-the-ground tools for community planners, grid designers, and business leaders to improve and implement stronger and more resilient renewable energy systems in Arctic communities. Through a framework combining renewable energy in microgrids, and Food, Energy, and Water (FEW) security and infrastructure, this course synthesizes concepts into a holistic approach to community planning, improvement, and resiliency.

  • Learn about existing and emerging renewable energy sources and technologies and explore examples from Alaska, including solar, wind, geothermal, biomass, and hydroelectric facilities.
  • Examine underlying causes of food, energy, and water insecurity in Arctic, subarctic, and northern rural communities.
  • Gain insights into Arctic and subarctic lifestyles, including the roles and impacts of wild harvests, plant-based foods, and health disparities.
  • Learn about food, energy, and water security and analyze the interactions among food, energy, and water usage, for example: energy and water use in the production, transportation, and storage of food; energy usage in treating drinking water and wastewater for human health; water demands and fuel costs for electricity production; appropriate food systems, energy, and water resource usage and allocation; climate change impacts, fossil fuels and environmental impacts.
  • Gain specialized expertise on a variety of Arctic energy issues affecting its residents and Indigenous peoples, from engineering to social science to traditional community knowledge.
  • Learn the key concepts with practical, Alaska-focused examples.
  • Use real wind and solar data and various analysis tools to make community energy assessments.
  • Apply the FEW nexus approach to guide decisions about renewable energy alternatives.
  • Learn from National Science Foundation-funded researchers and staff from a variety of disciplines at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, the University of Alaska Anchorage, the University of Calgary, Stanford, and the private sector. Connections with United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

This project is funded by the National Science Foundation, Award #1740075 INFEWS/T3: Coupling infrastructure improvements to food-energy-water system dynamics in small cold region communities: MicroFEWs.

At a glance

  • Language: English
  • Video Transcript: English
  • Associated skills:Social Sciences, Infrastructure, Water Resources, Water Supply Networks, Electricity, Research, Community Planning, Wastewater, Renewable Energy Systems, Sewage, Resilience, Sustainable Development, Climate Variability And Change

What you'll learn

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  • Explore current states of food, energy, and water systems in rural Alaska, with broader applications to the Arctic.
  • Compare mature and emerging renewable energy technologies with examples from Alaska
  • Define how food, energy, and water impacts community well-being in the Arctic and beyond.
  • Analyze the feedbacks between renewable energy generation and the local drivers of food, energy, and water security.
  • Explore and discuss scientific and social issues that arise when utilizing food, energy, and water resources.
  • Organize and quantify food and water security data.
  • Use renewable energy resource data to create energy assessments.
  • Learn how modular food and water applications can optimize renewable energy inputs in the Arctic and beyond.
  • Apply decision making methodologies to develop community level recommendations based on resource energy assessments combined with food and water security information.

Module 1: Life in Alaska

  • Introduction to Alaska
  • Introduction to the Food, Energy, Water (FEW) Nexus
  • Introduction to FEWtureville
  • Rural Electricity and Heating Systems
  • Rural Food Systems
  • Rural Water and Wastewater Systems
  • FEWtureville Case Study

Module 2: Energy Nuts & Bolts

  • Diesel Generators in Remote Communities
  • Renewable Energy Technologies
  • Energy Resource Data
  • FEWtureville Case Study

Module 3: Community Well-Being

  • What is Food, Energy, Water (FEW) Security
  • Factors Affecting FEW Security
  • Assessing FEW Security
  • FEWtureville Case Study

Module 4: Making Decisions

  • Electrified Load Applications
  • Analysis Tools: NRMSE Method
  • Analysis Tools: FEW Indices
  • Putting It All Together
  • The Years to Come

Learner testimonials

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"This course is approachable no matter your background in renewable energy or your knowledge of Alaska. I found this course to accurately represent the challenges surrounding the transportation of food and water, and the implementation of renewable energy.” –Lydia Andriesen

“This is a fantastic course for learning about food, water, and energy interactions and production in rural arctic communities. The course videos are informative and unique. I would highly recommend this course to anyone who is interested in learning about these topics.” –Mori Hays

Frequently Asked Questions

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Who should take this course?

  • Anyone who is interested in learning about the interactions between food, energy and water in Alaska and remote communities.

Do I have to be good at math and science to understand this material?

  • No. You do not need to be an engineer or have a technical background to take this course. A basic understanding of how to use excel spreadsheets will be helpful. Some mathematical concepts and equations are introduced, but a background in math is not required.

What if I’m not from Alaska or a rural community?

  • This course uses community examples from rural communities in Alaska, but you do not need to be from Alaska or a rural community to participate in or learn from this course.

How do I apply this material to communities outside of Alaska?

  • The information and tools presented in the course can be applied to any community. We focus on supporting remote, islanded communities, but the overall concepts and connections can be applied to any community.

Will I be able to network and learn from other students taking the course?

  • Yes! In this course you will have the opportunity to discuss various concepts with your fellow learners.

This course is part of Resilient Energy Systems for Sustainable Communities XSeries Program

Learn more 
Expert instruction
2 high-quality courses
Progress at your own speed
2 months
5 - 7 hours per week

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