Legislature(2009 - 2010)BARNES 124

03/24/2009 03:00 PM ENERGY

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
- Joint with Senate ENE for Overview:
+ The Alaska coal industry, by Steve TELECONFERENCED
Denton, Usibelli Coal Mine, Inc.
- Followed by House Committee only:
Moved CSHJR 25(ENE) Out of Committee
Heard & Held
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
HJR 25-HYDROELECTRIC POWER; RENEWABLE ENERGY                                                                                  
CO-CHAIR  MILLETT  announced that  the  first  order of  business                                                               
would be HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION  NO. 25, Urging the United States                                                               
Congress  to  classify hydroelectric  power  as  a renewable  and                                                               
alternative energy source.                                                                                                      
3:52:52 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   WILLIAM  "BILL"   THOMAS,   JR.,  Alaska   State                                                               
Legislature,  sponsor, presented  HJR 25  that urges  Congress to                                                               
clarify hydroelectric  (hydro) power as  renewable.  He  said the                                                               
federal government  does not recognize hydro  power as renewable,                                                               
probably because,  in the Lower  48, hydroelectric  power usually                                                               
involves building a  large dam that blocks a valley.   In Alaska,                                                               
however, there are high glacial creeks  and streams that can be a                                                               
source  of  energy  with  very  little,  or  no,  impact  on  the                                                               
environment.   Representative  Thomas informed  the committee  he                                                               
has five hydro  generators in his district that  are located high                                                               
enough so there is no impact  to salmon streams.  He advised that                                                               
if  there is  a favorable  response  to the  resolution from  the                                                               
federal  government,   it  will   be  possible  to   use  further                                                               
legislation  to  obtain  matching funds  from  federal  renewable                                                               
energy funding sources.                                                                                                         
3:54:55 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE JOHANSEN  moved to adopt the  committee substitute                                                               
(CS) for HJR 25, Version E, as the working document.                                                                            
KACI  SCHROEDER-HOTCH,  Staff  to Representative  Thomas,  Alaska                                                               
State  Legislature,   presented  the  proposed  changes   to  the                                                               
resolution.   The  first  change,  on page  2,  line  2, was  the                                                               
deletion of  the references  to specific areas  of the  state and                                                               
the  insertion of  "entire  state."   The  second  change was  in                                                               
response  to a  request by  the Alaska  Industrial Development  &                                                               
Export Authority  (AIDEA) for the  deletion of the word  "dam" on                                                               
page 2, lines 4-5.                                                                                                              
3:56:14 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  DAHLSTROM asked  whether  the  sponsor wants  the                                                               
resolution sent to the President also.                                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE THOMAS said yes.                                                                                                 
3:57:06 PM                                                                                                                    
CLAY KOPLIN, Manager, Cordova  Electric Cooperative, informed the                                                               
committee  that  because  hydro is  not  considered  a  renewable                                                               
source of energy, it is left  out of funding opportunities at the                                                               
federal level. Ironically,  the upfront cost of  hydro is similar                                                               
to  wind, but  the  life of  hydro infrastructure  is  50 to  100                                                               
years; therefore,  hydro is the  best solution for many  parts of                                                               
the state.  He praised Representative  Thomas and the work of the                                                               
special committees on energy.                                                                                                   
3:58:42 PM                                                                                                                    
HAP  SYMMONDS, Chairman,  Board  of  Directors, Cordova  Electric                                                               
Cooperative;  Representative, Ocean  Beauty  Seafood, opined  the                                                               
resolution  is  long overdue.    He  asked whether  the  proposed                                                               
deletion on  line 5  was "require little  or no  dam construction                                                               
CO-CHAIR MILLETT said yes.                                                                                                      
MR. SYMMONDS restated his support.                                                                                              
3:59:58 PM                                                                                                                    
ROBERT GRIMM,  CEO, Alaska Power  & Telephone, voiced  his strong                                                               
support  of the  resolution.   His  firm began  in  1995 using  1                                                               
percent  renewable fuel  and 99  percent fossil  fuel; presently,                                                               
the company uses 31 percent  fossil fuel and 68 percent renewable                                                               
fuel.  He  noted that all of the renewable  sources of energy now                                                               
used by his  company are hydro, although hydro does  not meet the                                                               
current definition of  renewable; in fact, there  is no provision                                                               
of  federal  [funding] for  new  hydro.    This is  especially  a                                                               
problem for a  young state, like Alaska, that does  not have much                                                               
of an existing  hydro system.  Finally, he opined  the passage of                                                               
this resolution "would show some leadership ...."                                                                               
4:02:02 PM                                                                                                                    
DOUGLAS  OTT,  Hydro  Program Manager,  Alaska  Energy  Authority                                                               
(AEA), Alaska  Industrial Development & Export  Authority (AIDEA)                                                               
and  Alaska  Energy  Authority  (AEA),  Department  of  Commerce,                                                               
Community,  & Economic  Development (DCCED),  stated his  support                                                               
for  the  resolution  and  that its  passage  would  promote  the                                                               
development of hydro power in the state.                                                                                        
4:02:38 PM                                                                                                                    
JAMES   HEMSATH,   Deputy   Director  for   Development,   Alaska                                                               
Industrial  Development &  Export  Authority  (AIDEA) and  Alaska                                                               
Energy  Authority (AEA),  Department  of  Commerce, Community,  &                                                               
Economic  Development  (DCCED),  expressed his  support  for  the                                                               
committee  substitute for  HJR 25  and explained  his agency  was                                                               
concerned  that  the wording  in  the  resolution, prior  to  the                                                               
change  proposed  by  the  CS,   would  eliminate  the  potential                                                               
development of a large hydro power plant in Alaska.                                                                             
4:03:32 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE RAMRAS expressed his concern for halibut.                                                                        
4:03:57 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE THOMAS responded.                                                                                                
4:04:13 PM                                                                                                                    
JERRY MEDINA, Administrative Officer, Inside Passage Electric                                                                   
Cooperative (IPEC), read the following statement [original                                                                      
punctuation provided]:                                                                                                          
     Hydropower is  a clean, domestic, and  renewable energy                                                                    
     source,  that  does  not consume  more  water  than  is                                                                    
     produced by  nature.  According the  Energy Information                                                                    
     Administration,  of the  renewable energy  sources that                                                                    
     generate  electricity,  hydropower  is the  most  often                                                                    
     used.    It  accounted  for 6  percent  of  total  U.S.                                                                    
     electricity  generation and  71  percent of  generation                                                                    
     from renewables in 2007.                                                                                                   
     Among the  advantages of  hydropower are  low operating                                                                    
     costs, because  the fuel, water, comes  free of charge.                                                                    
     This  contributes to  provide inexpensive  electricity,                                                                    
     because  no fossil  fuels are  required to  produce the                                                                    
     electricity,  and the  earth naturally  replenishes the                                                                    
     "fuel"  supply.   Hydropower is  also one  of the  most                                                                    
     efficient   ways   to  generate   electricity;   modern                                                                    
     turbines can convert  as much as 90 %  of the available                                                                    
     energy  into electricity.   Hydropower  energy produces                                                                    
     no greenhouse  gases or other air  pollution and leaves                                                                    
     behind  no waste.   And,  unlike  other energy  sources                                                                    
     such as fossil fuel, water  is not destroyed during the                                                                    
     production of electricity - it  can be reused for other                                                                    
     Hydropower  energy   is  very  abundant   in  Southeast                                                                    
     Alaska.  Since water  is a naturally recurring domestic                                                                    
     product  and is  not subject  to the  whims of  foreign                                                                    
     suppliers, there  is no worry of  unstable fuel prices,                                                                    
     fuel spillage  or contamination  issues, transportation                                                                    
     concerns, or national security issues.                                                                                     
     Water  is  one  of  our most  valuable  resources,  and                                                                    
     hydropower  makes  use   of  this  renewable  treasure.                                                                    
     Hydroelectric power  plants do not use  up resources to                                                                    
     create electricity  nor do they pollute  the air, land,                                                                    
     or water.                                                                                                                  
4:05:32 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR MILLETT closed public testimony.                                                                                       
4:05:54 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE DAHLSTROM  offered a conceptual amendment  to page                                                               
2, line 16, that renumbered lines  16-21, and on page 2, line 16,                                                               
inserted  "Honorable Barack  H.  Obama, President  of the  United                                                               
States;"  after  the  word  "the."   There  being  no  objection,                                                               
Conceptual Amendment 1 was adopted.                                                                                             
4:06:36 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   TUCK  offered   an   amendment   on  behalf   of                                                               
Representative Petersen.   The  purpose of  the amendment  was to                                                               
strengthen the  resolution specifically  for Alaska, in  light of                                                               
the fact  that Alaska  has ample  water supplies  and hydro  is a                                                               
well-accepted   renewable  resource   in   Alaska.     Conceptual                                                               
Amendment 2 read:                                                                                                               
     WHEREAS regions in the United  States outside of Alaska                                                                    
     have limited water supplies and  water sources that can                                                                    
     lead    to   classifying    hydroelectric   power    as                                                                    
     nonrenewable, but all areas of  Alaska have ample water                                                                    
     supplies  that are  capable  of  providing a  renewable                                                                    
     energy source for hydroelectric projects in the state.                                                                     
4:07:26 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR MILLETT objected for the purpose of discussion.                                                                        
4:07:40 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHANSEN   requested  a   written  copy   of  the                                                               
4:08:24 PM                                                                                                                    
The committee took an at-ease from 4:08 p.m. to 4:09 p.m.                                                                       
4:09:32 PM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair Millett called the committee back to order at 4:09 p.m.                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE TUCK withdrew Conceptual Amendment 2.                                                                            
4:09:41 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   THOMAS  stated   his  objection   to  Conceptual                                                               
Amendment 2 was that a  resolution specific to Alaska may prevent                                                               
other states with similar issues "to get onboard."                                                                              
4:10:08 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  JOHANSEN  appreciated  the  leadership  shown  by                                                               
Representative Thomas for hydro across Alaska.                                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE  TUCK agreed  and added  that hydro  is definitely                                                               
4:11:32 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  DAHLSTROM   moved  CSHJR  25,  Version   E,  with                                                               
Conceptual  Amendment  1,  and  attached  zero  fiscal  note  and                                                               
individual  recommendations.   There  being  no objection,  CSHJR
25(ENE)   was   moved   out    of   committee   with   individual                                                               
recommendations and the accompanying fiscal notes.                                                                              

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB 31 net metering map.PDF HENE 3/24/2009 3:00:00 PM
HENE 2/23/2010 3:00:00 PM
HB 31
Alaska Coal PowerPoint 03242009.pdf HENE 3/24/2009 3:00:00 PM
HJR 25 fiscal note.pdf.pdf HENE 3/24/2009 3:00:00 PM
IREC Net Metering chart.PDF HENE 3/24/2009 3:00:00 PM
HB 31 sectional summary.PDF HENE 3/24/2009 3:00:00 PM
HENE 2/23/2010 3:00:00 PM
HB 31
HB 31 sponsor statement.PDF HENE 3/24/2009 3:00:00 PM
HENE 2/23/2010 3:00:00 PM
HB 31
HJR 25 sponsor statement.PDF HENE 3/24/2009 3:00:00 PM
HJR 25 NHA Waterpower.PDF HENE 3/24/2009 3:00:00 PM
HB31-CED-RCA-03-23-09.pdf HENE 3/24/2009 3:00:00 PM
HB 31
HJR 25 CS changes.pdf HENE 3/24/2009 3:00:00 PM