Legislature(2015 - 2016)BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)
04/07/2016 01:30 PM LABOR & COMMERCE
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SB 193-EXTEND EXEMPTION FOR SMALL POWER PLANTS 1:49:26 PM CHAIR COSTELLO announced the consideration of SB 193. She stated the intention is to close public testimony, adopt a committee substitute (CS), and look to the will of the committee. 1:49:52 PM SENATOR GIESSEL moved to adopt the CS for SB 193, labeled 29- LS1513\H, as the working document. CHAIR COSTELLO objected for discussion purposes. 1:50:08 PM WESTON EILER, Staff, Senate Labor and Commerce Standing Committee and Senator Costello, Alaska State Legislature, informed the committee that the CS for SB 193 removes the January 1, 2020 sunset date on the exemption of small power production plants and facilities from regulation by the Regulatory Commission of Alaska (RCA). The original version of the bill extended the exemption, however, after conversation with stakeholders and the sponsor, the sunset was removed. The exemption was enacted in 2010 to align with federal tax credits and has been very successful. Version H will allow the exemption to continue without a sunset. He noted that Alaska regulates power projects of this size more strictly than the federal government. The bill will provide more certainty for independent power producers, allow for long-term planning, increase competition, and reduce rates for consumers. 1:52:19 PM CHAIR COSTELLO removed her objection. Finding no further objection, the CS was adopted. SENATOR STEVENS commented that this bill is needed and asked if rate payers are protected. MR. EILER deferred the question to the sponsor. 1:53:52 PM JESSE LOGAN, Staff, Senator Lesil McGuire, Alaska State Legislature, explained that rate payers are protected through the Regulatory Commission of Alaska (RCA). The bill pertains only to facilities that sell to regulated utilities. The RCA approves any power purchasing agreement between a non-regulated facility and a regulated utility. SENATOR MEYER asked how many small independent power producers there are throughout the state. MR. LOGAN said he didn't have an exact number, but there are quite a few. There are more than 20 wind projects and at least one active geothermal project. Currently, about 23 percent of the state's energy is produced by hydroelectricity, most of which is in Southeast Alaska. SENATOR MEYER offered his belief that that Kodiak uses about 99 percent renewable energy. SENATOR STEVENS agreed that the City of Kodiak uses about 99 percent renewable energy. Many small communities are in good locations for renewable energy opportunities. 1:55:37 PM KEITH COMSTOCK, Vice President and CEO, Juneau Hydropower Inc., testified in support of SB 193. He informed the committee that the Sweetheart Lake hydroelectric project is in the final stages of permitting and hopes to be in production later this year. He thanked the sponsor and the committee for amending the bill. He described the timeline for the project and said the change helps projects that take a long time. 1:57:54 PM THERESA CLEMMER, Attorney, testified in support of SB 193. She said she is testifying on behalf of Alaska Environmental Power (AEP), which operates a windfarm in Delta Junction. AEP is one of the small renewable energy producers that will greatly benefit from the bill. 1:58:35 PM ROBERT GRIMM, President and CEO, Alaska Power and Telephone Company (APTC), testified in support of SB 193. He related that APTC is unique because it is both a public utility and an independent power producer (IPP). He applauded the bill, particularly removing the sunset date. 1:59:49 PM SENATOR GIESSEL moved to report the CS for SB 193, labeled 29- LS1513\H, from committee with individual recommendations and attached zero fiscal note. CHAIR COSTELLO announced that without objection, CSSB 193(L&C) is reported from the Senate Labor and Commerce Standing Committee.