Sealaska and Viking Lumber will examine biomass energy potential

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JUNEAU, Alaska – Sealaska Corporation and Viking Lumber Inc. announced that they have entered into a letter of intent to examine an alternate energy supply enterprise utilizing wood waste for southeast Alaska customers. Production facilities will be on Prince of Wales Island in southeast Alaska.

“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 stated, “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 utilizing wood products in pellets, briquettes or dry chips suitable for boilers. Wood products are already being utilized 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 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.

“Viking Lumber is an ideal partner to explore these opportunities,” said Chris McNeil Jr., Sealaska president and CEO. Viking Lumber has a manufacturing facility in Klawock and has broad expertise in woods production, according to McNeil. “Viking’s manufacturing experience in southeast Alaska and Pacific Northwest brings expertise that is critical to developing a successful venture.”

Sealaska is an Alaska Native corporation weaving businesses with culture for the benefit of communities and the environment. Formed under federal law in 1971, Sealaska is owned by nearly 20,000 tribal member shareholders of Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian descent. Learn more at www.sealaska.com. Viking Lumber Inc. is a long-established, family-owned saw mill operating near Klawock.