60Hertz: Microgrids in Rural Alaska
Piper Foster Wilder came to Alaska with a background in renewable energy and a vision for the future of Alaska’s arctic villages. Rural Alaska residents pay more than 5x the national average for energy without the benefits you might expect; providing heat, clean water, fresh foods, and cooking energy to their homes is expensive given the use of diesel.
60Hertz’s purpose to address rural energy poverty in Alaska and the Arctic. The firm offers financing and Operations & Maintenance solutions that promote sovereignty in these communities. 60Hertz reduces remote populations’ dependence on diesel through use of renewables, verifies that microgrid Operations & Maintenance (O&M) is performed and optimized, and enables investors to efficiently fund rural electric infrastructure through a streamlined process. 60Hertz aims to:
- Raise capital placed in a renewable energy project finance fund available for project development
- Aggregates sites from — villages to mines — into annual tranches of activity, until the investible scale is reached
- Ensures renewable assets are engineered and constructed by blue-chip engineering firms who offer performance guarantees to reduce risk exposure for a customer.
- Provide investors in the fund a fair rate of return, while offering Power Purchase Agreements and loans at accessible rates.
- Support critical operations and maintenance activities through operator-centered software solution, now under development
In working with the Alaska Small Business Development Center (SBDC), Wilder shared, “Whether a startup or a lifestyle business, a Man-and-a-Van, or a tech entity heading for 20X investor returns, every entrepreneur’s first stop should be to align with the SBDC. Once I was assigned a small business coach, I immediately discovered an ally who I could trust. Our coach responded to my email requests immediately, helped educate me on items I already “should” have known, and directed me to resources and contacts that meaningfully helped. 60Hertz gained momentum and is finding our footing now with a team. However, during my first 15 months working alone on nights and weekends, the SBDC community I found in 60Hertz’s advisor, and also among his colleagues’ sister-offices across the state, was truly valuable.”
Business Advisor Lance Ahern expressed, “Watching 60Hertz Microgrids grow from a Startup Weekend project to a Launch Alaska funded startup has been exhilarating. Piper has shown that you can build a great team to go after big global markets right here in Alaska. Microgrids are going to be a big part of our energy future, and 60Hertz has the potential to be a big player in the market throughout the Arctic region.”