Power pole utility on a mountain range in Alaska

Railbelt Decarbonization

About the study

In consultation with utilities and other Alaska energy stakeholders, Alaska Center for Energy and Power (ACEP) is exploring and quantifying pathways toward reduced Railbelt electric grid carbon emissions while maintaining reliable and affordable electricity and promoting clean energy development. The purpose of this study is to inform future studies and decisions made by Alaska utilities, the State of Alaska, and other stakeholders with an independent, unbiased assessment that demonstrates to technical and non-technical audiences the opportunities and challenges facing isolated regional electric grids seeking to decarbonize.

Project funding is through ACEP and the Hawai’i Natural Energy Institute with support from the Office of Naval Research.

Study activities

  • Develop Scenarios
    • Centralized Low-Carbon Generation
    • Decentralized Energy Transition
    • Export Project Offtake
  • Public Comment
  • Evaluate Scenarios with computer modeling
  • Share
  • Public Comments
  • Revision Recommendations

Railbelt Decarbonization Study

Phase 1: Process

The Alaska Center for Energy and Power (ACEP) is examining ways for Alaska's Railbelt electrical system to attain zero net carbon emissions by 2050. Phase 1 focuses on technical feasibility and economic impacts of various technologies and their locations on the existing electric grid.

May 2022: Project Kick-off Workshop with Technical Advisory group and Stakeholders.

ACEP developed Railbelt Decarbonizaation Scenarios that also considered:

  • Generation sizing
  • Load and distributed energy resources forecasting
  • Energy resource availability

Three Railbelt Decarbonization Scenarios were selected for public input and analysis:

  • Scenario 1: Decentralized Energy Transistion
  • Scenario 2: Centeralized Low-Carbon Generation
  • Scenario 3: Export Project Offtake

Descriptions of the scenarios are available online.

ACEP collarborated with Information Insights to gain input from ratepayers, residents, orgainzations, and individuals on the study scenarios.

By a three part survey:

  • Identification
  • Context/Overview questions
  • Comments on 3 decarbonization scenarios

The extensive outreach gained 64 survey responses. 

The answers helped improve ACEP's Phase 1 study.


ACEP conducted complex computer modeling and analysis focused on reliability, stability, and economics.

  • Economic Dispatch (Production cost modeling)
  • Transmission Modeling and Analysis
  • Rate Analysis
  • Electricity Rates
  • Load Forecasts
  • Carbon Emissions and Emisisons Reductions
  • Generation Resources by Type
  • Transmission and Reliability

September 2023

  • Chapter review

Winter/Spring 2024

  • Presentation and public comment


Contact Information

Lead Researchers

Jeremy VanderMeer, ACEP
Email: jbvandermeer@alaska.edu

Phylicia Cicilio, ACEP
Email:  pcicilio@alaska.edu

Steve Colt, ACEP
Email: sgcolt@alaska.edu


Outreach and Public Comment

Frana Burtness-Adams, Information Insights
Email: comment@iialaska.com
Phone: 907.450.2459

Infographic - content explained in Railbelt Decarbonization Study section on webpage