Commentary: Alaska must set priorities for energy plan

Energy prices have dropped from last year's record levels, but they're still painfully high for Alaskans, especially in the Bush. Once again, the state's political leaders are hearing a familiar call to action: "Alaska needs an energy plan."

Both the state Senate and the state House are heeding the call.

The Senate Energy Policy Group has worked up a 50-page list of ideas for how Alaska can get more reliable and more affordable energy to residents and businesses. It's a useful list of possibilities, but it's still a work in progress.

Some ideas have price tags; some don't. There's no attempt to parse the benefits vs. costs of each idea. If the suggestion seems at all promising for Alaska, it's in there. The Senate document is a wish list, and a long one at that -- a lot longer than even Santa Claus can deliver.

Now the challenge is to winnow the list down to a practical, affordable package that's fair to all parts of the state. Alaskans are invited to share their thoughts with the Senate Energy Policy Group through Dec. 15. (See www.energy.aksenate.org.)

Alaska doesn't lack for ideas to cope with today's energy problems. What we lack is information on the most cost-effective strategies. And without that, we lack agreement on what are the best priorities for spending limited resources.

To read the complete editorial, visit The Anchorage Daily News.