Ballard, Alaska, is seeing its energy costs double in the next five years.
With the addition of two new natural gas fields, the state is now on track to reach the average cost of natural gas for every customer by 2021, according to a report released Tuesday.
Alaska has experienced a sharp increase in natural gas prices over the last few years, and the state was hit hard by a string of natural-gas explosions in 2011 and 2012.
That led to a massive increase in gas prices, which led to an increase in energy costs in the state.
The report from the Alaska Public Policy Institute shows that the average customer in Ballard has seen a 5 percent increase in their average bill, or a price increase of roughly $1,000 per month.
Alaska’s energy bill has increased by more than $200 million in the last three years, according the report.
The state has seen more than a 5.5 percent increase, which would make Alaska’s average energy bill $3,300 per month more expensive than in 2017, the report found.
Ballard’s average customer now pays $2,300 more for gas than they did in 2016.
The average customer’s bill has also gone up significantly for the next four years.
The new fields, which were announced in January, will have an average gas price of $3.50 per million British thermal units (Btu), the report said.
That’s up from $3 per Btu in 2016 and $2.50 in 2017.
The two new fields in Ballards’ southwest corner are expected to have an energy price of between $1.75 and $1 and $3 a million Btu.
That would make the state’s average bill more than double by 2021.
The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation said that it will continue to monitor the impact of the gas fields on Ballards environment, and that it is “evaluating the impact on air quality and water quality” in the area.
“We’re concerned about any increase in the cost of gas,” said spokeswoman Stephanie Eppler.
The department added that the natural gas price increase could affect people’s ability to afford other forms of energy, including solar panels, wind turbines, and geothermal power.
“This is a difficult time for Ballards community and our citizens.
Our priority is to protect our air quality, and we will continue monitoring the impacts of the natural-gases development,” Epplers office said in a statement.