2009 Legislative Priorities
Take a minute to familiarize yourself with the 2009 Conservation Priorities. These have been determined by over 50 conservation groups statewise; ACE included. As the session progresses the Watchdog will update you on how you can support these exciting bills!
The Three Priorities:
Establish an Emerging Energy Technology Fund
The Bill: SB150
Background: Establish an Emerging Energy Technology Fund
In 2008 ACE members helped pass HB 152 to establish the Renewable Energy Grant Fund. Furthermore, this session your voices were critical in supporting the Legislative Budget and Audit Committee as they alloted the first installment of $95 million for renewable energy projects into this year's budget. The establishment of the Renewable Energy Fund set an important precedent toward investing in Alaska's many renewable energy resources, and has already funded 77 renewable energy projects statewide! However, the Renewable Energy Fund is only one component of establishing a comprehensive renewable energy program.
In light of the Governor's goal for the State of Alaska to obtain 50% of its electricity from renewable energy sources by 2025, we need to think hard about how we will pursue our clean energy future. We have world-class renewable resources, but our technological capacity has not caught up with our potential to develop many of these quite yet. As it becomes increasingly clear that in-state fossil fuel supplies are insufficient, unstably priced, and polluting, we see how important it is to invest in technology to conserve our energy and harness renewable resources. Alaska can lead what many are calling the next industrial revolution in energy innovation by creating its own Emerging Energy Technology Development Fund. Establishing an Emerging Technology Fund is also necessary to help grow our cutting edge University programs and to create a highly valued workforce.
SB150 would create the Emerging Energy Technology Fund through the Alaska Center for Energy and Technology to provide grants and loans to eligible applicants for research, development or demonstration projects designed to test new energy technologies or methodologies of conserving energy and/or to improve an existing energy technology.
Providing Cost-Effective and Reliable Public Transportation
The Bill: SB152
In June 2008 we were excited to support the formation of a Regional Transportation Advisory agreement, designed to improve mass transit in Southcentral Alaska. Since ACE has long envisioned a sustainable public transit system between Mat-Su and Anchorage that includes commuter rail coordinated with buses and vanpools for the entire region, we thought the start of the legislative session would be a great time to put these ideas into practice. Prior to the start of the 26th Legislative Session, we decided to prioritize legislation that would legally enable the Regional Transit Authority (RTA) agreement between Anchorage and the Mat-Su Borough.
The enabling bill, SB152, would allow municipalities across the state to form their own RTA's! We're excited about SB152 because it is a step toward creating sensible, affordable commuting solutions for Alaskans. SB152 establishes precedent for investing in public transit statewide. Furthermore, by enabling Mat-Su/Anchorage RTA to determine the best public transit options for the region, SB152 expedites the establishment of a working model for other regions in the state.
Energy Efficiency in Public Buildings
The Bill: SB121
Background: Create Alaska Energy Savings Center
Originally, we prioritized the creation of an Alaska Energy Savings Center, but shifted to support SB121 because the overall concept of supporting energy efficiency is similar; and the bill could potentially include the creation of an Alaska Energy Savings Center. SB121 was introduced by the Senate Resources Committee with the intent to reduce the amount of energy consumed by public facilities between 2000 and 2020 by 20% before January 1, 2021, thereby reducing costs to the state and increasing jobs in energy efficiency industries. To accomplish this goal SB121 requires the Department of Public Transportation and Public Facilities (DOTPF) to create an energy use index for all heated public facilities to monitor baseline energy consumption data and energy efficiency data. With information from the energy use index, DOTPF is then required to retrofit all heated public facilities listed in the index. SB121 allows for performance contracting and has a 3-year self-reporting requirement to ensure that the program is working. The bill, if passed, will result in instant energy savings statewide and will position us to receive federal money from the economic stimulus passage.
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