Alaskan City Goes Green—by Necessity

After avalanche, Juneau is forced to find ways to use less energy
By Neil Turitz,  Newser User
Posted May 14, 2008 7:11 PM CDT
Alaskan City Goes Green—by Necessity
Sarah Lewis warms bread and boils corn on the wood stove in her living room for a barbeque while friends gather in the kitchen by candle Monday, April 28, 2008, in Juneau, Alaska.   (AP Photo)

An energy conservation effort born out of necessity has turned the residents of Juneau, Alaska, into poster children for the green movement, the New York Times reports. Electricity rates skyrocketed 400% after an avalanche knocked out several major transmission towers last month; the state capital has since lowered its electricity usage by more than 30%, a figure that makes conservationists swoon.

While the city of 31,000 is proud of its cutbacks—conservation efforts include shuttering the public sauna—Juneau's green moment is doing something larger: casting a positive light on a remote locale under what Mayor Bruce Botelho calls "the perennial threat of having the capital relocated." Interest from environmental start-ups could bring an economic boost to this former gold rush town now buoyed by tourism and state government. (Read more Juneau stories.)

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