Navigating the clean energy world can feel like staring at a bowl of alphabet soup. “Did you hear GVEA & CEA voted for an RPS that would fall under RCA and RRC jurisdiction?” For those of us who didn’t totally follow that, we’ll break down what happened during the first few weeks of the legislative session, and what that means for clean energy in Alaska – without using any acronyms.
During the week of January 22, the two largest electric utility providers in Alaska passed resolutions in support of a Renewable Portfolio Standard.
A Renewable Portfolio Standard would establish a timeline for utility providers along the railbelt to transition to more renewable energy sources. We believe that this transition is not only critical for addressing our rapidly changing climate, but also for securing stable and reliable opportunities for Alaskans as the clean energy sector jobs continue to expand and oil and gas jobs decrease.
In Fairbanks, the Golden Valley Electric Association unanimously adopted a statement that indicates general support for the goals of a Renewable Portfolio Standard, but outlines specific concerns about the current version of the bill in the state legislature. The following evening in Anchorage, the Chugach Electric Association passed a resolution supporting the establishment of a Renewable Portfolio Standard for the state.
We are thrilled to see these utility providers recognize the importance of a Renewable Portfolio Standard, and now we’re asking the legislature to take the next step.
The current Renewable Portfolio Standard bills in the state legislature are Senate Bill 101 and House Bill 121, which propose a transition to 80% renewable energy by 2040. In order to work out the details and address concerns raised by utilities, legislative committees must hold public hearings on these bills and allow the legislative process to function. Call your legislators and let them know you would like to see a hearing scheduled!
Also before the end of January, the Senate Labor & Commerce Committee held a public hearing on Senate Bill 152, which would establish a Community Solar program. This program would allow Alaskans to purchase shares in solar gardens that are not on their own properties, opening solar power up to many more consumers and creating more job opportunities in our state. It would create standards for all utilities along the railbelt that are subject to the oversight of the Regulatory Commission of Alaska.
Great news: this is widely popular! Several of you called or wrote in to testify in support of Community Solar, and many more of you signed a petition online supporting the bill. No action was taken on the issue following the hearing, as legislators had additional questions for utility providers who were unable to be present due to weather conditions.
Don’t let the alphabet soup get in the way of advocating for your community. All of these acronyms add up to big potential for our state, and you don’t have to be an energy expert to take action now. Sign up here to get involved with our advocacy, and stay tuned for how you can continue to support these major policy issues throughout the legislative session!
Together for a renewable future,
The Alaska Center
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