Chris Rose, Executive Director, REAP
907.232.0908, [email protected]
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Renewable Portfolio Standard Introduced in Alaska Legislature
February 4, 2022
JUNEAU, Alaska – On Friday, February 4th, Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy introduced Senate Bill 179 and House Bill 301 to establish a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) for the Railbelt region of Alaska.
The legislation would require the five electric utilities on the Railbelt (the interconnected grid that stretches from Fairbanks through Anchorage to the Kenai Peninsula) to generate a
specified percentage of their electricity from renewable resources according to the following
timeline: 20% by 2025, 30% by 2030, 55% by 2035 and 80% by 2040. Today, 30 states and several territories have RPS requirements.
In 2010, Alaska set a nonbinding, aspirational goal to generate 50% of the state’s electricity from renewable sources by 2025. There has been slow progress toward the goal since then, with the Railbelt currently generating approximately 20% of its electricity from renewables. Most of the current renewable generation in the Railbelt comes from three hydro projects.
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) just completed a report requested by the Governor in December that found five different scenarios in which the Railbelt could achieve 80% renewable generation by 2040 without impacting customer reliability. All scenarios take advantage of the region’s current flexible generators, and energy storage. The study also found that reaching the 80% renewable standard would save billions of dollars in fuel costs over the next two decades.
“This legislation points Alaska towards the future”, said REAP Executive Director Chris Rose.
“Cook Inlet natural gas prices keep rising as the cost of wind, solar and battery energy storage technologies are all rapidly declining. Today Railbelt electric utilities rely on Cook Inlet natural gas for about 80% of the electricity they generate, and they pay twice as much for that gas as utilities in the Lower 48 are paying. A policy shift now toward using Alaska’s vast, local and stably-priced renewable energy resources will incentivize investment, create good-paying jobs and make Alaska more energy independent.”
This press release was originally posted on the website of Renewable Energy Alaska Project.