Fairbanks Natural Gas Distribution Study Focus Groups

For years, Fairbanks residents have struggled with high energy costs, particularly for home heating. To help address these concerns, the Interior Energy Project (IEP) plan is to liquefy natural gas on the North Slope, truck it to Fairbanks, regasify it, and distribute the gas to homes and businesses. As part of assessing the feasibility of the project, the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority (AIDEA) examined the likely rate of household conversion to natural gas in the Fairbanks North Star Borough. Agnew::Beck facilitated four focus groups to discuss the conversion process and to better understand the likelihood that homeowners would convert their homes to natural gas. The project team used an audience response system to ask questions throughout the meeting, and focus group participants were able to have productive discussions on both their likelihood of converting and on different conversion incentives. These findings will help AIDEA, the Interior Gas Utility, and others estimate the demand for and timing of natural gas conversion in the Fairbanks North Star Borough and to understand what types of incentive programs might be the most effective in encouraging homeowners to convert to natural gas.