JUNEAU – The Alaska Legislature Friday passed Senate Bill 69, encouraging private investment in renewable energy projects by extending an exemption from duplicative government regulations for independent power producers (IPPs).
“Extending this exemption will encourage more private investment in renewable energy projects across Alaska,” said Senator Josh Revak, R-Anchorage, the bill’s sponsor. “Since 2010, this exemption has led to new investment, and has generated a growing diversity of energy sources for Alaska’s utilities. During a time of increasingly tight state budgets, simply getting government out of the way and allowing the private sector to work is one of the best ways to ensure our state remains a leader in renewable energy and encourage investment in our struggling economy.”
In 2010, the Legislature enacted Senate Bill 277 to better align Alaska’s regulatory treatment of renewable energy power generation produced by IPPs with how they are regulated at the federal level.
At the time, Alaska was the only state to extend the regulatory authority of a public utility commission like the Regulatory Commission of Alaska (RCA) to regulate not just the power purchase agreement but also the IPP. By doing away with the duplicative layer of review and regulation in 2010, the Legislature encouraged private investment in renewable energy projects.
The exemption from regulation adopted in 2010 was, however, only effective for five years. In 2016, the Legislature unanimously extended the exemption another five years, avoiding the double regulation of these facilities.
The current exemption is scheduled to lapse on July 1, 2021, just as additional interest in renewable resources is growing in Alaska. SB 69 would enact a 7-year extension to July 1, 2028, allowing investors to make better, long-term plans and deploy capital throughout the state.
SB 101 passed the Senate 18-0 and the House 36-1, for a combined vote of 54-1. It is now on its way to Governor Mike Dunleavy’s desk for his signature.