Legislature(2009 - 2010)BARNES 124

04/08/2009 01:00 PM RESOURCES

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Moved CSHJR 25(ENE) Out of Committee
Moved CSHB 210(RES) Out of Committee
Moved Out of Committee
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
<Bill Hearing Canceled>
<Pending Referral>
HJR 25-HYDROELECTRIC POWER; RENEWABLE ENERGY                                                                                  
2:52:11 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR NEUMAN announced that the  final 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.   [Before  the  committee  was  CSHB
2:52:31 PM                                                                                                                    
KACI SCHROEDER-HOTCH,  Staff, Representative Bill  Thomas, Alaska                                                               
State  Legislature, in  response  to  Co-Chair Neuman,  clarified                                                               
that  the  bill  version  before the  committee  is  labeled  26-                                                               
LS0740\S  (Version  S).    She  paraphrased  from  the  following                                                               
written sponsor statement [original punctuation provided]:                                                                      
     One of the most readily available sources of renewable                                                                     
     energy in Alaska is hydroelectric power. Alaska has a                                                                      
     vast amount of high elevation lakes and run-of-the-                                                                        
     river systems which have the potential, in many areas,                                                                     
     to completely displace diesel generated power with                                                                         
     little to no environmental impact. Hydroelectric power                                                                     
     is so abundant in Alaska that most areas of the state                                                                      
     can make use of it in some form or another.                                                                                
     With such a plentiful source of non-diesel generated                                                                       
     power, it is unfortunate that the Federal Government                                                                       
     does not have a working definition of renewable or                                                                         
     alternative that includes hydroelectric power. This                                                                        
     effectively cuts hydroelectric power projects off from                                                                     
     many potential sources of federal funding, and                                                                             
     therefore, hinders Alaska's efforts to displace diesel                                                                     
     generated power.                                                                                                           
     HJR 25 asks Congress to develop a working definition                                                                       
     of renewable and alternative which includes hydropower                                                                     
     so that reliable renewable energy policy can be                                                                            
     developed, and valuable projects receive adequate                                                                          
     I urge your support of HJR 25.                                                                                             
2:53:28 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KAWASAKI   asked  what  the   federal  government                                                               
considers  hydroelectric   power  to  be  if   not  renewable  or                                                               
MS.  SCHROEDER-HOTCH  responded,  "Not renewable."    In  further                                                               
response, she said  hydroelectric is considered a  means of power                                                               
that is not renewable under federal law.                                                                                        
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON  understood that  to qualify  for renewable                                                               
grants  the  power  source  must   be  classified  as  renewable;                                                               
therefore,  the problem  is that  grants for  hydroelectric power                                                               
cannot be applied for.                                                                                                          
MS. SCHROEDER-HOTCH answered correct.                                                                                           
2:54:51 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KAWASAKI inquired  whether this classification for                                                               
hydroelectric  power would  include wave  generation, tidal,  and                                                               
everything in between.                                                                                                          
MS.  SCHROEDER-HOTCH   replied  that  the  resolution   does  not                                                               
delineate, it only  says hydroelectric.  "So,  that would include                                                               
dams, run-of-the-river, everything," she continued.                                                                             
REPRESENTATIVE EDGMON  added that the  irony is that  8.4 percent                                                               
of all  power in the U.S.  is renewable, and of  the 8.4 percent,                                                               
6.2 percent  comes from hydroelectric.   He supported  moving the                                                               
resolution out of committee.                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR NEUMAN opened public testimony.                                                                                        
2:56:19 PM                                                                                                                    
TIM MCLEOD, President and General  Manager, Alaska Electric Light                                                               
and  Power, stated  that  he  has worked  with  Jodi Mitchell  of                                                               
Inside   Passage  Electric   Association  on   developing  energy                                                               
solutions  for Southeast  Alaska.   Because  Ms.  Mitchell had  a                                                               
meeting  conflict,  he  conveyed   the  Inside  Passage  Electric                                                               
Association's support for  HJR 25.  He  stated that hydroelectric                                                               
is a  renewable, environmentally  friendly resource, but  that it                                                               
was  deliberately   excluded  from   the  list  by   the  federal                                                               
government.   He said  Alaska Electric  Light and  Power supports                                                               
HJR 25.   Juneau  has been  served by  hydropower since  1893, he                                                               
continued, and  there is  no reason to  believe that  the current                                                               
hydro units will  not still be running in another  100 years from                                                               
MR. MCLEOD  noted that  there is  tremendous potential  for hydro                                                               
projects throughout  the state, of  which he personally  knows of                                                               
12 good  projects that could be  developed.  However, there  is a                                                               
lack  of  funding  through  the  federal  government  because  of                                                               
hydropower's  nonrenewable  classification.    He  expressed  his                                                               
concern that  communities served  by hydropower  could experience                                                               
further penalties because  they will be unable  to meet renewable                                                               
energy portfolio  standards that  the federal  government imposes                                                               
in  the  future, despite  Southeast  Alaska  having some  of  the                                                               
greenest, cleanest energy  in the world.  It is  important to get                                                               
this resolution passed this session, he said.                                                                                   
2:59:18 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR NEUMAN assured  Mr. McLeod that the  legislature will be                                                               
doing so.                                                                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE KAWASAKI agreed.  He  noted that when he thinks of                                                               
renewable energy  he thinks of  solar panels first,  wind second,                                                               
and  hydroelectric dams  third.   He  said  he therefore  remains                                                               
confused as to why hydroelectric is not classified as renewable.                                                                
MR. MCLEOD  responded that  the federal  government has  just not                                                               
classified   hydroelectric  as   renewable  energy   for  funding                                                               
purposes or  tax credit  purposes.   He said  he believes  it was                                                               
deliberately not  classified as renewable because  of issues with                                                               
some of the dams that have been constructed.                                                                                    
3:00:20 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  NEUMAN  pointed  out  that  the  resolution  asks  that                                                               
hydroelectric be considered renewable and alternative.                                                                          
MR.  MCLEOD, in  reference to  Representative Kawasaki's  list of                                                               
three renewable  energy sources, said he  would put hydroelectric                                                               
power as  number one because it  would take dozens and  dozens of                                                               
wind  generators in  a very  windy area  to match  the Snettisham                                                               
project alone.                                                                                                                  
CO-CHAIR NEUMAN closed public testimony.                                                                                        
REPRESENTATIVE TUCK said he will  be offering an amendment on the                                                               
floor and will work with the sponsor in this regard.                                                                            
CO-CHAIR JOHNSON moved  to report CSHJR 25(ENE)  out of committee                                                               
with any individual recommendations  and the attached zero fiscal                                                               
note.  There being no  objection, CSHJR 25(ENE) was reported from                                                               
the House Resources Standing Committee.                                                                                         

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