This page summarizes a preliminary Benefit/Cost study done by Analysis North addressing one possible scenario for achieving 80% renewable electricity generation in the Alaskan Railbelt.
This Study addressed the performance and financial impact of using Ductless "Mini-Split" heat pumps in Alaska. The various components of the study, with associated report and calculator links, are summarized below.
The contract for this study was managed by the Northwest Arctic Borough, and funding for the study was provided by:
Special thanks to Brian Hirsch of Deerstone Consulting for recognizing the need for this study and Calculator, and for his efforts to assemble interested parties to sponsor the study.
A web-based calculator was developed to estimate the performance and financial return of installing a mini-split heat pump in a home in Alaska. Community-specific climate, fuel cost, and electric utility rate information is available in the Calculator for most communities in Alaska. Try out the Calculator here:
Alaska Mini-Split Heat Pump Calculator
As well as work by Alan Mitchell of Analysis North, this calculator benefited extensively from contributions by Phil Kaluza of Arctic Energy Systems, Dustin Madden and Kristen Thomas of the Cold Climate Housing Research Center, and detailed review and suggestions for improvement by Ingemar Mathiasson of the Northwest Arctic Borough.
A number of different field studies of the performance of mini-split heat pumps were reviewed to develop a performance algorithm for use in the Calculator. This report summarizes the development of the algorithms and data that are used in the Calculator:
Mini-Split Heat Pumps in Alaska: Heat Pump Calculator Algorithms and Data
From use of the Heat Pump Calculator described above, conclusions can be drawn about the situations where Mini-Split Heat Pumps are cost-effective in Alaska. The Calculator and work related to development of the Calculator also provide other useful observations about the performance and benefits of mini-split heat pump use in Alaska. Here is the report:
Mini-Split Heat Pumps in Alaska: Cost-Effective Applications and Performance Observations
For electric utilities where marginal generation costs are less than the retail rates, the added electricity sales from use of heat pumps will reduce rates for all customers. Further, use of heat pumps oftentimes has the social benefit of reduced greenhouse gas emissions and increased energy efficiency. This report gives guidance on how electric utilities can provide incentives to customers for installation of heat pumps:
Mini-Split Heat Pumps in Alaska: Analysis of Utility Incentives
Extensive use of heat pumps will impact electric utility system loads. This report addresses the utility system impacts imposed by use of mini-split heat pumps:
Mini-Split Heat Pumps in Alaska: Electric Utility System Impacts