Benchmarks will prepare Railbelt for energy independence
(Juneau) – Friday, Governor Mike Dunleavy introduced his second bill from a package of energy legislation intended to promote energy independence, long-term cost reductions, and competitive markets in both urban and rural Alaska.
House Bill 301 and Senate Bill 179 will allow Alaska to join 30 states and two territories in creating a renewable portfolio standard in the Railbelt. A key element of the governor’s RPS is a firm commitment to transitioning to 30% sustainable power by 2030 and 80% by 2040.
“The trends are clear: For over 30 years, natural gas prices have only risen in the Cook Inlet while the cost of renewable generation has plummeted. With unrest in Eastern Europe rising and renewables now being the cheapest form of generation on earth, it’s time for Alaskans to consider where we want to be 20 years from now,” said Governor Mike Dunleavy. “We have a responsibility to look beyond the immediate future and toward the world our children will inherit. Remaining captive to a costly and unpredictable fuel marketplace is not an option. It’s time to cut the talk and put Alaska on a path toward energy independence.”
In preparation for the legislative session, the Dunleavy administration worked with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory to demonstrate that the 80% target is highly achievable and will result in $426 million to $506 million in annual fuel savings by 2040. Possible scenarios range from the completion of a large hydroelectric project in Southcentral to the deployment of significant wind and solar resources supported by tidal and geothermal output.
The NREL study also determined that transmission capacity upgrades will be needed from Willow to Healy along the Alaska Intertie. Planned upgrades between the Kenai and Anchorage will also benefit the Railbelt’s renewable capacity. Governor Dunleavy is committed to working with the Railbelt utilities, the Legislature, and the Alaska Energy Authority to fund and complete these necessary upgrades in parallel to the RPS.
For more information, see the RPS FAQ
Read the NREL Alaska RPS Feasibility Study here .