New Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard Bill Introduced to Legislature

Solar panel

March 27, 2023

A new bill recently introduced to the Alaska legislature proposes to require the utilities that form the 700-mile Alaska Railbelt grid to generate or purchase a specified percentage of their electricity from renewable resources.

Senate Bill 101, introduced March 15, 2023 by Senator Löki Tobin and co-sponsored by Senators Elvi Gray-Jackson and Scott Kawasaki, states that the utilities must attain renewable energy generation rates according to the following timeline: 25% by Dec. 31, 2027; 55% by Dec. 31, 2035; and 80% by Dec. 31, 2040.

A similar bill (HB 301) was introduced in the previous legislative session but did not pass. The newly introduced SB 101 has two of the same milestones: 55% by Dec. 31, 2035, and 80% by Dec. 31, 2040, and includes language on net metering that was not in the previous legislation.

The utilities — Homer Electric Association, Chugach Electric Association, Matanuska Electric Association, and Golden Valley Electric Association — which run from Homer on the Kenai Peninsula to Fairbanks, already produce or purchase 20% of their electricity by renewable resources in the form of hydropower, wind, solar, and landfill gas.

More information can be found by reading SB101 and a recent report produced by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.