Legislature(2023 - 2024)BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)

05/05/2023 01:30 PM Senate LABOR & COMMERCE

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01:32:16 PM Start
01:32:47 PM SB101
03:09:24 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
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= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Heard & Held
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**Streamed live on AKL.tv**
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
          SENATE LABOR AND COMMERCE STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                        
                          May 5, 2023                                                                                           
                           1:32 p.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Senator Jesse Bjorkman, Chair                                                                                                   
Senator Elvi Gray-Jackson                                                                                                       
Senator Kelly Merrick                                                                                                           
Senator Forrest Dunbar                                                                                                          
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
Senator Click Bishop, Vice Chair                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
SENATE BILL NO. 101                                                                                                             
"An Act  relating to a renewable  portfolio standard;  relating to                                                              
electrical  energy transmission;  relating  to distributed  energy                                                              
systems;  relating to  power cost  equalization;  relating to  the                                                              
Alaska Energy Authority; and providing for an effective date."                                                                  
     - HEARD & HELD                                                                                                             
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
BILL: SB 101                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: UTILITIES: RENEWABLE PORTFOLIO STANDARD                                                                            
SPONSOR(s): SENATOR(s) TOBIN                                                                                                    
03/15/23       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
03/15/23       (S)       L&C, FIN                                                                                               
05/05/23       (S)       L&C AT 1:30 PM BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)                                                                      
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
SENATOR LÖKI TOBIN, District I                                                                                                  
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Sponsor of SB 101.                                                                                        
MICHAEL MASON, Staff                                                                                                            
Senator Löki Tobin                                                                                                              
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Presented the sectional analysis for SB 101.                                                              
CHRIS ROSE, Founder and Executive Director                                                                                      
Renewable Energy Alaska Project (REAP)                                                                                          
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION  STATEMENT:  Gave a  presentation  pertaining  to SB  101                                                            
titled, "Why  the Railbelt  Needs a  Renewable Portfolio  Standard                                                              
MIKE JONES, representing self                                                                                                   
Homer, Alaska                                                                                                                   
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in opposition to SB 101.                                                                        
MATTHEW PERKINS, Co-Founder and Vice President                                                                                  
Alaska Renewables                                                                                                               
Fairbanks, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of SB 101.                                                                           
BOB BUTERA, representing self                                                                                                   
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of SB 101.                                                                           
MIKE CRAFT, representing self                                                                                                   
Fairbanks, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of SB 101.                                                                           
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
1:32:16 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  JESSE  BJORKMAN  called   the  Senate  Labor  and  Commerce                                                            
Standing Committee  meeting to order  at 1:32 p.m. Present  at the                                                              
call to  order were Senators  Dunbar, Merrick and  Chair Bjorkman.                                                              
Senator Gray-Jackson arrived shortly thereafter.                                                                                
         SB 101-UTILITIES: RENEWABLE PORTFOLIO STANDARD                                                                     
1:32:47 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  BJORKMAN announced  the consideration  of  SENATE BILL  NO.                                                              
101 "An Act  relating to a renewable portfolio  standard; relating                                                              
to  electrical   energy  transmission;  relating   to  distributed                                                              
energy systems;  relating to power cost equalization;  relating to                                                              
the  Alaska  Energy  Authority;  and providing  for  an  effective                                                              
He asked Senator Tobin to introduce the legislation.                                                                            
1:33:15 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  LÖKI   TOBIN,  District  I,  Alaska   State  Legislature,                                                              
Juneau, Alaska, sponsor  of SB 101, stated that  she would discuss                                                              
why  the  state  should have  Renewable  Portfolio  Standards.  On                                                              
March 20,  2023, the United  Nations released the  "Climate Change                                                              
2023  Synthesis  Report,"  focusing  on  the  ongoing  impacts  of                                                              
global   warming,   particularly    vulnerable   populations   and                                                              
ecosystems  worldwide. She  noted  that Alaska  experienced  these                                                              
effects  during  Typhoon  Merbok   which  caused  devastation  and                                                              
communication challenges.                                                                                                       
She stated  that more  than a century  of fossil fuel  consumption                                                              
has  highlighted  the  urgency of  addressing  climate  change  to                                                              
mitigate  extreme  weather  events,   especially  in  the  Arctic.                                                              
Implementing  a  Renewable  Portfolio  Standard  in  Alaska  is  a                                                              
practical  way  forward, leveraging  evolving  and  cost-effective                                                              
renewable  energy  sources,  including  wind,  solar,  tidal,  and                                                              
geothermal energy.                                                                                                              
Senate  Bill  101  proposes a  renewable  portfolio  standard  for                                                              
Alaska's power companies  and utilities. Currently,  85 percent of                                                              
the energy for the  Railbelt is derived from fossil  fuels. SB 101                                                              
aims  to increase  renewable  energy  to 25  percent  by 2027,  55                                                              
percent  by  2035,   and  80  percent  by  2040.   The  bill  also                                                              
establishes  a   March  2025   reporting  deadline   for  Railbelt                                                              
utilities to track their progress in meeting these standards.                                                                   
SB 101  encourages compliance by  authorizing fines  for utilities                                                              
that  fail to  meet the  standards, but  it emphasizes  incentives                                                              
over  penalties.  It  offers  an  exemption  for  the  first  non-                                                              
compliance  fine   and  allows  fines  to  be   satisfied  through                                                              
customer-installed   distributed   energy   systems   or   energy-                                                              
efficient projects.                                                                                                             
SENATOR  TOBIN stated  that  the  bill affects  utilities  serving                                                              
Railbelt  communities and  those  under the  Electric  Reliability                                                              
Organization (ERO),  known in Alaska  as the Railbelt  Reliability                                                              
Council  (RRC).  The  RRC  must  incorporate  Renewable  Portfolio                                                              
Standards into its  resource plans, and the  Regulatory Commission                                                              
of Alaska (RCA) determines compliance.                                                                                          
SB 101  permits the  use of  renewable energy  credits to  support                                                              
interconnected grid  services, enabling the purchase  of renewable                                                              
resources  within service  areas or from  power cost  equalization                                                              
SENATOR  TOBIN stated  that  SB  101 is  a positive  step  towards                                                              
reducing  pollution and  climate impacts.  It promotes  resilient,                                                              
reliable,   renewable   technologies   and  energy   security   by                                                              
diversifying   power  supply   options,  making   it  a   valuable                                                              
initiative for the State of Alaska.                                                                                             
1:39:45 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  BJORKMAN  asked  Michael  Mason to  present  the  sectional                                                              
analysis for SB 101.                                                                                                            
1:39:50 PM                                                                                                                    
MICHAEL   MASON,  Staff,   Senator   Löki   Tobin,  Alaska   State                                                              
Legislature,  Juneau, Alaska,  presented  the following  sectional                                                              
analysis for SB 101, version R:                                                                                                 
        Senate Bill 101  Utilities: Renewable Portfolio                                                                       
                  Version R Sectional Analysis                                                                                  
     Section  1    Amends  the uncodified  law  the State  of                                                                 
     Alaska  and clarifies  the  purpose of  this  Act is  to                                                                   
     establish  a  standard  for certain  utilities  to  meet                                                                   
     renewable   electricity  generation  goals   established                                                                   
     under  Section  5 of  the Act.  Nothing  in  the Act  is                                                                   
     intended   to    constitute   implementation    by   the                                                                   
     Regulatory  Commission  of   Alaska  under  the  federal                                                                   
     Public Utility Regulatory Policy Act of 1979.                                                                              
     Section  2    Amends Sec.  42.05.391  to stipulate  that                                                                 
     public utilities  that offer  net metering to  customers                                                                   
     with  installed  distributed   energy  systems  are  not                                                                   
     engaging   in   rate   discrimination.    This   section                                                                   
     references Sec.  42.05.930 which defines  a "distributed                                                                   
     energy  system" as  renewable  energy resources  located                                                                   
     on any  property owned  or leased  by a customer  within                                                                   
     the service  territory of  the load-serving entity  that                                                                   
     is  interconnected   on  the  customer's  side   of  the                                                                   
     utility meter.                                                                                                             
     Section  3     Amends  Sec.   42.05.780,  which  governs                                                                 
     integrated  resource  plans   for  electric  reliability                                                                   
     organizations, to  require integrated resource  plans to                                                                   
     include options  by which  each load-serving entity  may                                                                   
     satisfy the renewable portfolio standard.                                                                                  
     Section 4    Amends Sec. 42.05.785, which  governs large                                                                 
     energy  facility  project  preapproval,  by  stipulating                                                                   
     that  a public  utility  which is  part  of an  electric                                                                   
     reliability  organization  may  not  construct  a  large                                                                   
     energy  facility  unless the  Regulatory  Commission  of                                                                   
     Alaska determines  that the facility is  not detrimental                                                                   
     to  a   load-serving  entity's   ability  to  meet   the                                                                   
     renewable portfolio standard.                                                                                              
1:41:20 PM                                                                                                                    
     Section 5    Adds new article under Sec.  42.05 entitled                                                                 
     Article  11A.  Renewable Portfolio  Standard  (RPS).  AS                                                                   
     42.05.900  requires   a  load-serving  entity   that  is                                                                   
     subject  to the  standards  of an  electric  reliability                                                                   
     organization   comply  with   the  renewable   portfolio                                                                   
     standard  and   requires  regulated  Railbelt   electric                                                                   
     utilities diversify  their current generation  portfolio                                                                   
     by  increasing   the  proportion   of  net   electricity                                                                   
     production  from  renewable   energy  sources  in  three                                                                   
     successive  steps: 25  percent  by 2027,  55 percent  by                                                                   
     2035, and 80 percent by 2040.                                                                                              
     Sec.  42.05.900 also  stipulates that  a purchase  power                                                                   
     agreement  entered into  between  a load-serving  entity                                                                   
     and  a renewable  electrical producer  will satisfy  all                                                                   
     or part of  the percentages required under  the previous                                                                   
     subsection  if   three  conditions  are  met:   (1)  the                                                                   
     effective  date of the  agreement is  before the  end of                                                                   
     the  compliance  period, (2)  the  renewable  electrical                                                                   
     energy  producer   delivers  the  energy  to   the  load                                                                   
     serving  entity  not  later  than two  years  after  the                                                                   
     compliance   period,   and   (3)  the   purchase   power                                                                   
     agreement  is approved by  the Regulatory Commission  of                                                                   
     Alaska  (RCA). Purchase  power  agreements not  approved                                                                   
     by  the  Commission  may  result   in  the  load-serving                                                                   
     entity being subject to a noncompliance fine.                                                                              
     Sec. 42.05.900  governs the  qualifications for  a load-                                                                   
     serving  entity's  renewable portfolio  which  stipulate                                                                   
     that  the renewable  energy  resources  must be  located                                                                   
     within  the  load-serving  entity's  service  area,  the                                                                   
     same   interconnected   electric   energy   transmission                                                                   
     network,  or  located  within  the service  area  of  an                                                                   
     electric  utility  whose customers  receive  Power  Cost                                                                   
     Equalization (PCE).                                                                                                        
     Sec.   42.05.900  also   stipulates  that   load-serving                                                                   
     entities  may satisfy  the RPS with  energy produced  by                                                                   
     distributed  energy systems,  regardless of whether  the                                                                   
     energy is  acquired by the  load-serving entity  or used                                                                   
     by  the customer.  Under this  statute, energy  produced                                                                   
     by  customers may  count  toward the  RPS  of the  load-                                                                   
     serving entity.                                                                                                            
     Article 11A  also governs the  data needed to  determine                                                                   
     compliance  with  the  RPS  and  the  accounting  system                                                                   
     needed to verify compliance.                                                                                               
1:42:43 PM                                                                                                                    
     The RCA  is directed to  adopt regulations to  develop a                                                                   
     proxy system  for the  energy produced from  distributed                                                                   
     energy  systems  which  shall   be  updated  every  five                                                                   
     Sec.  42.05.900  authorizes  a  load-serving  entity  to                                                                   
     satisfy the  RPS through  renewable energy credits  that                                                                   
     are  authorized  by  Sec. 42.05.910  (new  statute)  and                                                                   
     allows a  load-serving entity  to use energy  efficiency                                                                   
     investments to  satisfy the RPS if the  displaced energy                                                                   
     consumption is established by the State of Alaska.                                                                         
     Sec.  42.05.905 establishes  reporting requirements  for                                                                   
     load-serving  entities  subject  to the  RPS.  Beginning                                                                   
     March  1, 2025,  a load-serving  entity  must submit  an                                                                   
     annual  report  to  the  RCA  documenting  the  progress                                                                   
     toward  satisfying  the RPS  in the  preceding  calendar                                                                   
     year.  The  annual  report  must  include  the  entity's                                                                   
     total  production from  distributed  energy systems  and                                                                   
     net electricity  sales from renewable  energy resources.                                                                   
     The annual  report must also  document the load  serving                                                                   
     entity's  satisfaction of  penalties  imposed under  the                                                                   
     noncompliance  section of this  Act. The RCA  must adopt                                                                   
     regulations  related to reporting  and is authorized  to                                                                   
     investigate  and  collect   information  about  a  load-                                                                   
     serving entity's compliance with the RPS.                                                                                  
     Sec.  42.05.910  governs  the use  of  renewable  energy                                                                   
     credits. To  qualify as part of a load-serving  entity's                                                                   
     portfolio,  renewable  energy  credits must  be  bundled                                                                   
     from  generation  located within  the  entity's  service                                                                   
     areas or connected  to the same interconnected  electric                                                                   
     transmission network.  Credits can also qualify  if they                                                                   
     are  purchased  from renewable  sources  located  within                                                                   
     the  service area  of an  electric  utility that  serves                                                                   
     customers who receive PCE.                                                                                                 
     A renewable  energy credit  may only  be used once,  and                                                                   
     renewable energy  credits must be tracked  in compliance                                                                   
     with  the   RPS.  Credits   may  be  traded,   sold,  or                                                                   
     otherwise  transferred for  value  and revenue  received                                                                   
     by a load-serving  entity from renewable  energy credits                                                                   
     is  to  be  credited  to  the  entity's  cost  of  power                                                                   
     adjustment to  the benefit of the load-serving  entity's                                                                   
1:44:09 PM                                                                                                                    
     Sec. 42.05.915  establishes a  noncompliance fine  for a                                                                   
     load-serving entity  that fails to meet the  RPS, set at                                                                   
     $20 for  every megawatt  hour that  the entity is  below                                                                   
     the RPS.                                                                                                                   
     The  RCA  may   waive  noncompliance  fines   if  it  is                                                                   
     determined  that  a  load-serving entity  is  unable  to                                                                   
     meet the RPS  because of reasons outside  the reasonable                                                                   
     control  of  the  load-serving  entity  as  set  out  in                                                                   
     subsection  (c)  of  this   section  or  if  the  entity                                                                   
     establishes  a good cause for  noncompliance as  set out                                                                   
     in subsection  (d) of this section. The RCA  may require                                                                   
     additional  reporting by  a load-serving  entity if  the                                                                   
     commission  waives all or part  of a noncompliance  fine                                                                   
     and  a load-serving  entity  is prevented  from  passing                                                                   
     along  the  cost of  non-compliance  fines  directly  to                                                                   
     customers through rate increases.                                                                                          
     A  load-serving  entity  must  satisfy  a  noncompliance                                                                   
     fine  by paying  a  customer  all or  a  portion of  the                                                                   
     costs  of  installing  a distributed  energy  system  or                                                                   
     energy  efficiency technologies.  If the total  requests                                                                   
     for costs exceed  the amount of the  noncompliance fine,                                                                   
     the  load-serving  entity   shall  prioritize  customers                                                                   
     with mean  household incomes at  or below 80  percent of                                                                   
     the mean annual income where the customer is located.                                                                      
1:45:16 PM                                                                                                                    
     Sec.  42.05.920  establishes   exemptions  for  entities                                                                   
     related   to  RPS  compliance   if  the  aggregate   net                                                                   
     electricity sales  for all load-serving entities  on the                                                                   
     interconnected  electric  energy   transmission  network                                                                   
     meets  or  exceeds  the  aggregate  renewable  portfolio                                                                   
     standard   for   all  load-serving   entities   on   the                                                                   
     interconnected network.                                                                                                    
     Additionally, a  load-serving entity is exempt  from its                                                                   
     first RPS  noncompliance fine.  An exemption under  this                                                                   
     subsection  does not  apply  for the  compliance  period                                                                   
     ending December 31, 2040.                                                                                                  
1:46:12 PM                                                                                                                    
     Sec. 42.05.925  requires a  load-serving entity  subject                                                                   
     to the  RPS to credit a  retail customer for  the number                                                                   
     of  kilowatt-hours of  electric energy  supplied by  the                                                                   
     customer's  distributed energy  system.  The tariff  may                                                                   
     not  limit the  aggregate  capacity that  customers  may                                                                   
     install unless  the RCA  finds that capacity  limitation                                                                   
     is  necessary to  protect  system reliability.  This  is                                                                   
     also  known  as  net  metering.   A  credit  under  Sec.                                                                   
     42.05.925  which  exceeds the  customer's  monthly  bill                                                                   
     for service  will roll over  to the following  month and                                                                   
     continue  to  roll  over  until   used.  Unused  credits                                                                   
     expire on  March 31 of each  year for up to  seven years                                                                   
     after   a  customer's  distributed   energy  system   is                                                                   
     connected  to  the  load-serving  entity  and  generates                                                                   
     Sec  42.05.930  provides  for   definitions  used  under                                                                   
     Article 11A.                                                                                                               
     Section  6     Amends  Sec.   AS  42.45.110  to  exclude                                                                 
     revenue  from the  sale of  recovered  heat, or  revenue                                                                   
     from  the   sale  of   renewable  energy  credits   from                                                                   
     calculating PCE.                                                                                                           
     Section  7    Amends  Sec.  44.83.940  by adding  a  new                                                                 
     subsection  requiring  the  Alaska Energy  Authority  to                                                                   
     submit  a   report  to  the  Alaska   State  Legislature                                                                   
     identifying  the  authority's   progress  in  developing                                                                   
     renewable  energy  resources  in rural  regions  of  the                                                                   
     state,    evaluating    renewable     energy    resource                                                                   
     development     in    rural     regions,     identifying                                                                   
     infrastructure  necessary  for  rural  renewable  energy                                                                   
     projects,  and evaluating  the feasibility  and cost  of                                                                   
     rural renewable energy projects.                                                                                           
     Section  8   Establishes  an effective  date of July  1,                                                                 
1:47:42 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR DUNBAR  asked the  sponsor whether  she would entertain  the                                                              
idea of amending  the bill to  extend an offsetting credit  to the                                                              
utilities  that are  impacted by  the restoration  of the  Eklutna                                                              
River.  He explained  that years  ago the  Eklutna Dam  hydropower                                                              
project  was created  without  consulting  the Native  village  of                                                              
Eklutna  and  it   destroyed  their  traditional   salmon  stream.                                                              
Current efforts  are underway to  restore the river but  this will                                                              
reduce  the hydropower  going to  Matanuska  Electric and  Chugach                                                              
Electric, perhaps significantly.                                                                                                
1:47:57 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR GRAY-JACKSON joined the meeting.                                                                                        
1:49:28 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. MASON  replied that he  and the sponsor  are both pro  fish so                                                              
it  sounded like  a  good  idea. He  suggested  that  it could  be                                                              
accomplished  through an  amendment,  a committee  substitute,  or                                                              
the regulation process.                                                                                                         
SENATOR  TOBIN  added   that  she  didn't  believe   it  would  be                                                              
necessary  to reduce  the compliance  measures  because there  was                                                              
ample opportunity  to invest  in other  types of renewable  energy                                                              
generation  to help  those  utilities offset  that  loss of  power                                                              
generation and meet the requirements.                                                                                           
1:50:24 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR DUNBAR  said there  are different  mitigation options  and                                                              
the governor  ultimately makes the  decision due to  a complicated                                                              
agreement with the  US Fish and Wildlife Service  and other things                                                              
that occurred in  1991 without any input from  the Eklutna people.                                                              
He said  his concern  is that  some of  the involved utilities  in                                                              
the project  or the Governor's  Office will  point to this  as one                                                              
of  the  reasons  for  choosing   a  different  mitigation  option                                                              
because they  cannot reduce  the flow  of water  that goes  to the                                                              
Eklutna Power  Project. He would  like to work with  the sponsor's                                                              
office to ensure  this will not stand in the way  of restoring the                                                              
Eklutna River.                                                                                                                  
MR. MASON responded  that he would  be happy to share  some of the                                                              
options he's identified that might achieve that goal.                                                                           
1:51:55 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR BJORKMAN transitioned  to invited testimony  and asked Chris                                                              
Rose to begin his presentation.                                                                                                 
1:52:08 PM                                                                                                                    
CHRIS  ROSE,  Founder and  Executive  Director,  Renewable  Energy                                                              
Alaska  Project (REAP),  Anchorage,  Alaska,  gave a  presentation                                                              
supporting  SB 101  titled, "Why  the Railbelt  Needs a  Renewable                                                              
Portfolio  Standard  (RPS)."  He  advised  that  the  presentation                                                              
would  lay  out  the  economic  reason  that  a  Renewable  Energy                                                              
Portfolio Standard  is important  for the  Railbelt. The  state of                                                              
Alaska  currently  is facing  the  problem  of overreliance  on  a                                                              
supply  of  natural  gas  that   is  dwindling  and  getting  more                                                              
MR.  ROSE began  on slide  2 and  described  the Renewable  Energy                                                              
Alaska Project:                                                                                                                 
             Renewable Energy Alaska Project (REAP)                                                                           
     Established  in 2004,  REAP is  a statewide,  non-profit                                                                   
     coalition  of  over  60  diverse   energy  stakeholders,                                                                   
     including   developers,   consumer    groups,   electric                                                                   
     utilities, Alaska Native organizations  and businesses.                                                                    
     REAP's   mission  is   to   increase  renewable   energy                                                                   
     development and promote energy efficiency in Alaska.                                                                       
     REAP  runs  programs  for,   and  collaborates  with,  a                                                                   
     number   of  state   and  federal   agencies,   national                                                                   
     laboratories, universities and other NGOs.                                                                                 
     REAP is  focused not  just on  technology, but also  the                                                                   
     policy and  financing, and  especially the people,  that                                                                   
     are  necessary  for  Alaska   to  transition  to  local,                                                                   
     affordable,  stably-priced renewable  energy and  energy                                                                   
1:55:53 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. ROSE advanced to slide 3 and spoke to the following points:                                                                 
                     Presentation Overview                                                                                    
     •  Railbelt  electricity rates  have  been  rising  much                                                                   
        faster than in the Lower 48                                                                                             
     •   Cook Inlet natural gas prices have  also been rising                                                                   
     •  Alaska DNR says Cook Inlet gas production  will see a                                                                   
        shortfall as soon as 2027                                                                                               
     •   If the  Railbelt  imports LNG  to  make  up for  the                                                                   
          •  Natural gas costs will dramatically increase,                                                                      
             raising rates for Railbelt consumers                                                                               
          •  PCE reimbursements across rural Alaska will                                                                        
             take a steep hit                                                                                                   
          •  The volatility of electricity prices across                                                                        
             the state will increase                                                                                            
      •  Renewable energy costs have fallen precipitously                                                                       
        worldwide, making it the cheapest electricity that                                                                      
        can be generated in most jurisdictions                                                                                  
      •  The Railbelt needs a renewable portfolio standard                                                                      
        to diversify our sources of electricity, and                                                                            
        accelerate the deployment of local renewable energy                                                                     
        resources to protect consumers                                                                                          
1:57:55 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  ROSE displayed  the graph  on slide  4, Railbelt  Residential                                                              
Electric  Rates Have  Risen Quickly.  He stated  that the  colored                                                              
lines show the  rates for the four different  co-ops from 1/1/2013                                                              
to  1/1/2022. The  green  line running  along  the  bottom is  the                                                              
national average  which is  about $0.14  per kilowatt  hour (kWh).                                                              
This clearly  illustrates  that all four  Railbelt utilities  have                                                              
much higher electricity  prices than the US national  average. The                                                              
ratepayers on  the Kenai Peninsula  and in the Fairbanks  area pay                                                              
the highest  at $0.25- $0.35/kWh.  High electrical rates  make the                                                              
area less attractive for investors and as a place to live.                                                                      
1:58:40 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  ROSE advanced  to  slide 5,  Cook Inlet  and  US Natural  Gas                                                              
prices,  $/Mcf. He  noted  that  the Henry  Hub  natural gas  spot                                                              
price is  the index  in the lower  48; the  dotted and  solid blue                                                              
lines  show  the  recent  declines  in  price.  The  orange  lines                                                              
reflect Cook  Inlet prices  that have  been rising steadily  since                                                              
2000 from  just over  $2.00/Mcf  to closer to  $7.50/Mcf.  He said                                                              
that's really what's been driving up the price of electricity.                                                                  
1:59:36 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  ROSE advanced  to  slide  6,  Forecast Proved  Developed  and                                                              
Proved Undeveloped.  He explained that this Department  of Natural                                                              
Resources  (DNR)  graph  illustrates  the  impending  shortage  of                                                              
natural  gas  in Cook  Inlet.  In  2027,  a significant  shift  is                                                              
apparent; as the  graph indicates, natural gas  production in Cook                                                              
Inlet  will fall  below the  level  of consumption  for the  first                                                              
time.  The  horizontal  blue  line  that  is  hovering  around  70                                                              
billion  cubic  feet  (BCF), represents  the  annual  natural  gas                                                              
usage by  the four electric  utilities and Enstar  for electricity                                                              
generation  and  heating  purposes.  The  orange  section  on  the                                                              
graph,  which  represents  proved  undeveloped  gas  reserves,  is                                                              
highlighted as  an area that necessitates  substantial investment.                                                              
To ensure  a steady  gas supply  until 2027,  it is apparent  that                                                              
around 15 wells per year need to be drilled in Cook Inlet.                                                                      
2:01:11 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  ROSE explained  that the  graph  on slide  7 illustrates  the                                                              
world's  LNG  spot  prices  the  last two  years  and  reflects  a                                                              
considerable  degree of  volatility.  It particularly  focuses  on                                                              
various  indices  associated with  the  Asian Pacific  region.  He                                                              
noted  the  Henry Hub  (HH)  index,  in  the  US where  there  are                                                              
pipelines,  is relatively  low  and stable  compared  to the  more                                                              
volatile  Title Transfer  Facility (TTF)  index that is  European.                                                              
He  advised  that gas  imported  to  Alaska  would not  come  from                                                              
Europe. The  orange, green,  and gold  lines represent  indices in                                                              
Asia.  They  are   of  significant  relevance  because   they  are                                                              
indicative of  the sources from  which Alaska would  likely import                                                              
its natural  gas. This  gas would  potentially be redirected  from                                                              
regions  like  British  Columbia, resulting  in  pricing  patterns                                                              
aligned with what  is depicted in the graph. The  goldish bar that                                                              
runs  across  the  graph represents  the  Japan  Organization  for                                                              
Metals and  Energy Security  (JOGMEC) index,  which is  comparable                                                              
to  energy  indices in  the  United  States,  such as  the  Energy                                                              
Information  Administration  (EIA).   This  provides  a  reference                                                              
point  for understanding  that the  expected  pricing dynamics  of                                                              
imported  natural gas  in  Alaska  is closely  tied  to the  Asian                                                              
2:02:38 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. ROSE reviewed  the chart on slide 8, Japanese  LNG import spot                                                              
price versus Cook  Inlet average gas prices ($/Mcf).  He explained                                                              
that  the graph  features  a comparison  between  the blue  JOGMEC                                                              
line  and   the  Cook  Inlet   average  gas  price.   This  visual                                                              
representation  underscores  the   remarkable  stability  of  Cook                                                              
Inlet  gas prices  over  an extended  period.  For a  considerable                                                              
time,  they have  remained  at  approximately $7.50  per  thousand                                                              
cubic   feet   (MCF).   However,   this  is   likely   to   change                                                              
significantly  by 2027,  possibly  even sooner,  particularly  for                                                              
utilities  like the Homer  Electric Association  (HEA), which  has                                                              
contracts with Hilcorp that are set to expire next year.                                                                        
The context  of this  shift is  that approximately  85 percent  of                                                              
the  gas  extracted from  Cook  Inlet  is  developed and  sold  by                                                              
Hilcorp. The catalyst  for the ongoing developments  can be traced                                                              
back  to Hilcorp's  public  announcement  from  a year  ago.  They                                                              
indicated  uncertainty about  their  ability  to fulfill  existing                                                              
contracts  with both  Enstar and  the four  electric utilities  in                                                              
the Railbelt. These  contracts are set to expire  between 2024 and                                                              
2028, and it  was clear that Hilcorp was unsure  about maintaining                                                              
the same  volume or  price levels. This  announcement served  as a                                                              
signal  to  the  utilities  that   a  change  in  gas  prices  was                                                              
In  essence,  the  graph  highlighted  the  contrast  between  the                                                              
prospective  costs of entering  the Japanese  spot market  for LNG                                                              
and  the prevailing  stability  of Cook  Inlet  gas prices,  which                                                              
have  been consistently  around  $7.50. The  significance of  this                                                              
comparison  lay  in the  fact  that  all  of these  contracts  are                                                              
scheduled to conclude between 2024 and 2028.                                                                                    
2:04:11 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  ROSE  advanced   to  slide  9  Average  Imported   LNG  Price                                                              
Scenario's  (Current Prices to  2028). He  stated that  this graph                                                              
illustrates   potential   future   scenarios.   The   green   line                                                              
represents  the   stable  Cook  Inlet  gas   price,  approximately                                                              
$7.50/MCF,  which  is the  current  average price  that  Matanuska                                                              
Electric, Chugach  Electric, and Seward Electric  pay. He directed                                                              
attention  to  the  colored  dotted  lines  that  represent  three                                                              
different price scenarios for LNG: $12, $18, and $25/MCF.                                                                       
The $25 price aligns  with the current spot target  price. The $12                                                              
and $18  prices were  derived from  multiple sources,  including a                                                              
report by Chugach  staff regarding the Dixon Diversion  Project by                                                              
Bradley Lake  and DNR's projections  for incentive prices  in Cook                                                              
Inlet for  more development to take  place. He explained  that the                                                              
relatively  small  market, with  500,000  to 600,000  natural  gas                                                              
users in  Cook Inlet, had limited  competition due to  the absence                                                              
of major  gas exploration activities.  The dominance of  one major                                                              
player, Hilcorp, with  an 85 percent share in  gas supply, created                                                              
a situation  akin to a  monopoly. As a  result, the  utilities and                                                              
Enstar have limited market leverage.                                                                                            
2:06:53 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. ROSE  displayed  slide 10, "Avoided  Cost,"  and spoke  to the                                                              
     • "Avoided Cost" is an electric utility industry term                                                                      
        of art.                                                                                                                 
      • It refers to the cost of generation that a utility                                                                      
        avoids when it purchases electricity from a third                                                                       
        • Avoided cost is composed of fuel and O&M costs                                                                        
        attributable to the "last" MWh generated.                                                                               
       • A utility's "avoided cost" is the most expensive                                                                       
        power it would otherwise generate over a given                                                                          
        interval of time.                                                                                                       
      • If the cost of renewable energy is less expensive                                                                       
        over the life of a project than the utility's                                                                           
        avoided cost, then consumers will be better off with                                                                    
        the renewables.                                                                                                         
      • MEA's Willow solar power purchase agreement (PPA)                                                                       
        was justified by the RCA based on the utility's                                                                         
        avoided cost at the time the PPA was signed.                                                                            
2:09:20 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  ROSE  advanced  to  slide  11,  2028  Railbelt  Avoided  Cost                                                              
Scenarios (At Three  Different Potential LNG Prices).  He directed                                                              
attention to four  different bands of bar graphs.  The first band,                                                              
represented by  Chugach Electric in  blue, MEA in orange,  and HEA                                                              
in gray, depicts  the current situation where these  utilities are                                                              
paying  approximately $7.75/MCF,  which is  their current  avoided                                                              
cost. Today, Chugach's  weighted cost is slightly  over six cents,                                                              
making  it the  benchmark to  beat. To  surpass Chugach's  avoided                                                              
cost, one needs  to go under six  cents. Both MEA and  HEA already                                                              
have higher avoided costs.                                                                                                      
He turned to the  $12 gas scenario, stating that  this is a likely                                                              
best-case  scenario for  new natural  gas prices,  but even  then,                                                              
the contract  cost is a little  over $0.07/KWh in 2028.  That cost                                                              
beats  Chugach's new  avoided cost  and it also  beats both  Homer                                                              
and MEA's  costs. This  means that  whenever gas reaches  $12/MCF,                                                              
solar will beat  that price. He said the solar price  comes from a                                                              
relatively   small  six-megawatt   solar  farm   that  lacks   the                                                              
economies  of scale  associated  with larger  solar  developments,                                                              
but developers  are exploring the  potential for much  larger wind                                                              
and solar  projects in the  Railbelt. In  such cases, the  cost of                                                              
power is likely  to decrease over time. He highlighted  that there                                                              
was already  one solar  contract close to  MEA's avoided  cost and                                                              
poised  to  beat  other  avoided   costs  if  natural  gas  prices                                                              
2:11:45 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. ROSE displayed  slide 12, Impact of Three  Possible LNG Import                                                              
Prices on Annual  Household PCE Reimbursements, stating  that this                                                              
graph reflects  an interesting element  because the cost  of power                                                              
in Fairbanks and Anchorage has a statewide impact.                                                                              
2:11:57 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  BJORKMAN summarized  that SB  101 is  a government  mandate                                                              
for  utilities to  generate a  certain percentage  of their  power                                                              
from  renewables. He  noted  that the  presentation  thus far  had                                                              
discussed  the rising  cost of gas  and why  those same  utilities                                                              
are  under  market pressure  to  adopt  a portfolio  of  Renewable                                                              
Energy Standards. He  further noted that MEA and  HEA already were                                                              
engaged in  this process with  independent power  producers (IPP).                                                              
He asked why a  government mandate is needed if  market forces are                                                              
encouraging  utilities  to include  renewables  as  part of  their                                                              
power  generation  and  certain utilities  are  already  including                                                              
renewables to diversify their power generation.                                                                                 
MR.  ROSE  replied   that  one  reason  is  that   there  isn't  a                                                              
competitive market.  The four utilities  are monopolies  that each                                                              
act independent  of the others.  The Railbelt Reliability  Council                                                              
(RRC)  was established,  but  there  isn't an  Independent  System                                                              
Operator (ISO) to  operate the grid efficiently as  one grid. Most                                                              
jurisdictions  in  the  lower  48  have  an  ISO.  The  Regulatory                                                              
Commission  of Alaska (RCA)  has ordered  both Matanuska  Electric                                                              
(MEA) and  Chugach Electric Association  (CEA) to start  acting in                                                              
a tight  power  pool which  is moving  toward an  ISO. This  isn't                                                              
fully fledged, and  it doesn't include Homer  Electric Association                                                              
(HEA)  or  Golden  Valley Electric  Association  (GVEA).  To  move                                                              
forward  efficiently,   the  utilities  have  to   address  system                                                              
MR. ROSE  stated that it  is also necessary  to deal with  what is                                                              
called pancaking  transmission tariffs.  Each utility owns  a part                                                              
of the transmission  and they charge a toll to  move the electrons                                                              
through  their   separate  service  areas.  These   accumulate  or                                                              
pancake one  on top of  the other potentially  making the  cost of                                                              
delivering  the power  up  and down  the  Railbelt more  expensive                                                              
than the cost to  generate it. REAP believes that  if there were a                                                              
mandate,   the  utilities   would  be  forced   to  operate   more                                                              
efficiently. This  means that each  of the utilities would  not be                                                              
charging a  toll to  move the electrons  through their  respective                                                              
service areas.                                                                                                                  
2:15:06 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  ROSE  said  another  issue is  that  there  are  transmission                                                              
constraints  that make  it more  difficult to  move power  between                                                              
the  Anchorage/MatSu area,  Fairbanks,  and  the Kenai  Peninsula.                                                              
These constraints  limit  transmission to  80 megawatts.  The area                                                              
around  Willow has  a  similar constraint  and  all the  utilities                                                              
agree  that these need  to be  fixed. The  utilities have  applied                                                              
for  federal  grant money  that's  available  for this  but  there                                                              
isn't complete  agreement  about how much  transmission is  needed                                                              
for reliability without "gold plating" the system.                                                                              
MR.  ROSE  returned  to  the  first   point  about  not  having  a                                                              
competitive  market.  He explained  that  the four  utilities  are                                                              
able   to   calculate   their  avoided   costs   using   different                                                              
methodologies  so  there  isn't  a target  price  for  the  entire                                                              
Railbelt.  Independent power  producers  (IPP) that  want to  sell                                                              
into  the  market  have  to  deal  with  each  utility  separately                                                              
because  transparency  and  consistency  in the  market  price  is                                                              
2:17:20 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. ROSE  returned to slide 12  and explained that the  Power Cost                                                              
Equalization  (PPE) program  is based  on equalizing  the cost  of                                                              
power in Anchorage,  Fairbanks, and Juneau with the  cost of power                                                              
outside of those  areas. As the prices in Anchorage  and Fairbanks                                                              
have  increased, it  has reduced  the  amount of  the subsidy  for                                                              
people outside the  Railbelt. The impact becomes  more significant                                                              
on PCE consumers in a $12, $18, or $25 gas price scenario.                                                                      
2:18:22 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. ROSE  advanced to slide  13, Importing  LNG Should Not  be the                                                            
Answer.  He noted  that all  of  the utility  executives who  were                                                              
quoted   talked  about   importing   natural   gas  into   Alaska.                                                              
Unfortunately,  they did  not identify renewables  as the  answer.                                                              
The slide read:                                                                                                                 
     When asked what  the option for natural gas  would be if                                                                   
     the  AK  LNG  project  does  not  go  forward,  Railbelt                                                                   
     Utility Mangers  all had the same answer for  the Senate                                                                   
     Resources Committee:                                                                                                       
     "I  think that  option is  going to  be importing  LNG."                                                                   
     Arthur Miller, Chugach Electric Association                                                                                
     "LNG  import is  going  to be  the  answer." Tony  Izzo,                                                                   
     Matanuska Electric Association                                                                                             
     "I think  whether I want to  say it out loud or  not, at                                                                   
     some  point,  imports will  be  part of  the  transition                                                                   
     plan   from  everything   I've  heard   so  far."   Brad                                                                   
     Janorschke, Homer Electric Association                                                                                     
     "I  have been  steadfast in  looking at  my three  peers                                                                   
     here and  saying we are  in this together  and so  if it                                                                   
     is imported  natural gas, so be it." John  Burns, Golden                                                                   
     Valley Electric Association                                                                                                
2:19:07 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. ROSE  advanced to the  US map on  slide 14, Renewable  & Clean                                                              
Energy Standards.  He explained  that this  shows the  states that                                                              
had  Renewable  Portfolio  Standards  and  those  that  had  Clean                                                              
Energy Standards as  of November 2022. He noted  that eight states                                                              
now have  a Renewable Energy  Standard of  100 percent by  2045 or                                                              
2050.  REAP  believes that  80  percent  is eminently  doable  for                                                              
Alaska and  that the  state should be  following in  the footsteps                                                              
of some of these other states that have established standards.                                                                  
2:20:07 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  ROSE  advanced   to  slide  15,  Costs  of   Wind  and  Solar                                                              
Electricity  Power Purchase  Agreements (PPA).  He explained  that                                                              
the colored  circles on  the graph represent  contracts in  the US                                                              
for  wind  and solar  that  have  occurred  since 2009.  The  gold                                                              
circles  represent power  purchase agreements  (PPA) or  contracts                                                              
for solar  power and  the blue-gray  circles represent  wind power                                                              
contracts.  The larger the  circle, the  larger the contract.  The                                                              
graph shows  that by 2022  the price of  wind and solar  was about                                                              
$0.03/MWh.  He noted that  the dashed  black line represents  what                                                              
the Energy  Information Administration  (EIA) has been  projecting                                                              
for natural  gas prices in  the lower 48.  He emphasized  the huge                                                              
activity for  renewables in the  lower 48 where natural  gas costs                                                              
one third as much as in Cook Inlet.                                                                                             
2:21:32 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  ROSE  advanced   to  slide  16,  Levelized   Cost  of  Energy                                                              
Comparison -  Unsubsidized Analysis.  He explained that  the chart                                                              
comes  from   Lazard,  an   international  consulting   firm  that                                                              
annually  conducts  an  unsubsidized   comparison  of  electricity                                                              
production,  providing a  clear  breakdown  between renewable  and                                                              
conventional energy sources.                                                                                                    
Lazard's findings  reveal that,  in today's  context, the  cost of                                                              
utility-scale  solar photovoltaic  (PV)  and  onshore wind  energy                                                              
lies  within a  range  of roughly  $24 to  $75/MWh  for wind,  and                                                              
$96/MWh  for  solar. He  said  it's  worth  noting that  the  most                                                              
competitive  options fit  squarely within  the $26  to $30  range,                                                              
which can be translated to approximately $0.02 to $0.03/KWh.                                                                    
Moreover,  the  chart  serves  as  a  window  into  the  world  of                                                              
conventional  energy, presenting  a  price  spectrum for  combined                                                              
cycle gas  units ranging from  $39 to $101/MWh.  Freshly harnessed                                                              
natural gas-fired  electricity  falls in  the ballpark of  roughly                                                              
$0.07 to  $0.10/KWh. The  chart also  shows the prices  associated                                                              
with generating  power from a new  nuclear plant, which  span from                                                              
$141  to  $221/MWh,   corresponding  to  approximately   $0.15  to                                                              
$0.22/KWh.   He   clarified  that   these   figures   specifically                                                              
represent the  foundational costs  of electricity generation,  not                                                              
factoring  in any  additional  overhead  expenses  which allows  a                                                              
closer look at where the costs lie.                                                                                             
2:23:32 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. ROSE advanced  to slide 17, Percentage of  Net Generation from                                                              
Solar  in   2022  (Selected  States).   He  said  this   slide  is                                                              
interesting  because it shows  that solar  already accounts  for a                                                              
large  percentage of  power  generation in  many  states. This  is                                                              
important to Alaska  because rooftop solar could  quickly displace                                                              
the use of  natural gas for six  to eight months of  the year. The                                                              
gas could  instead be  used for  heating. He  pointed to  the data                                                              
for California which  has a population of about  40 million. Solar                                                              
accounts for  25 percent of the  power generation for  that state.                                                              
He  also  pointed  out  that  Massachusetts  generates  almost  20                                                              
percent  of its  electrical power  from solar.  He emphasized  the                                                              
untapped potential  for Alaska to adopt more  solar innovation. He                                                              
noted that  a provision in  SB 101 requires  utilities to  pay new                                                              
rooftop  solar customers  a retail  rate up to  seven years  which                                                              
aligns  with  net metering.  This  could  increase the  number  of                                                              
people who  want to take  advantage of  the 30 percent  tax credit                                                              
and receive  the retail rate for  any excess generation  they sell                                                              
into the grid.                                                                                                                  
2:25:28 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  ROSE advanced  to  slide  18, Renewable  Portfolio  Standards                                                              
(RPS)  with  Solar   or  Distributed  Generation   Provisions.  He                                                              
explained that  the US map shows  the states that have  carved out                                                              
certain technologies.  Specifically, the states  colored blue-gray                                                              
have  special  solar  provisions   in  their  Renewable  Portfolio                                                              
Standard.  He highlighted  that the special  solar provision  that                                                              
SB  101 proposes  is consistent  with  the states  that have  done                                                              
this successfully.                                                                                                              
2:25:57 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. ROSE  advanced  to slide 19,  U.S. Net  Capacity Additions  by                                                              
Source  (Gigawatts).  He  explained  that  the  color-coded  graph                                                              
shows  new  power generation  in  the  lower  48 since  2010.  The                                                              
green/bronze represents  wind, the gray represents  solar, and the                                                              
orange represents  fossil fuels.  Since 2010, the  power generated                                                              
from wind  and solar  has increased and  the power generated  from                                                              
fossil fuels  has decreased  to below zero.  He described  this as                                                              
net  negative fossil  fuel generation  capacity  which means  that                                                              
more fossil  fuel plants in  the lower  48 are being  retired than                                                              
are being  built. Most new generation  in the lower 48  comes from                                                              
wind and solar.                                                                                                                 
2:27:19 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. ROSE  advanced to  slide 20,  An RPS  Bill Similar  to [Senate                                                              
Bill] 121  Was Introduced by Governor  Dunleavy in 2022.  He spoke                                                              
to the following:                                                                                                               
     HB 301  passed out  of both the  House Energy and  House                                                                   
     Labor   &   Commerce   Committees    before   the   32nd                                                                   
     Legislature ended.                                                                                                         
He stated  that REAP  is pleased that  this bill was  reintroduced                                                              
this year.                                                                                                                      
2:27:49 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  ROSE advanced  to  slide  21,  which the  National  Renewable                                                              
Energy Lab  (NREL) provided upon  request from Governor  Dunleavy.                                                              
He spoke to the following:                                                                                                      
      Renewable Portfolio Standard Assessment for Alaska's                                                                    
     Overall   Finding  1:   Multiple   pathways  exist   for                                                                 
     achieving an  80% RPS while balancing supply  and demand                                                                   
     under  major outage conditions  with appropriate  system                                                                   
     Overall  Finding 2:  An 80% RPS  achieves a  substantial                                                                 
     reduction  in fuel  costs,  which could  be compared  to                                                                   
     capital  cost expenditures  for  a comprehensive  impact                                                                   
MR.  ROSE conveyed  that  in  the time  NREL  had  to conduct  the                                                              
study,  they were  not  able  to do  a  detailed analysis  of  the                                                              
capital cost to  get enough wind, solar, and  batteries to achieve                                                              
an  80 percent  RPS.  He highlighted  that  the  lab is  currently                                                              
working on an updated report that includes the cost analysis.                                                                   
2:29:02 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR   MERRICK   asked   for   confirmation   that   slide   20                                                              
misidentified  the companion bill  to HB 301.  It was  Senate Bill                                                              
121, not House Bill 121.                                                                                                        
MR.  ROSE replied  that's  correct; he  neglected  to correct  the                                                              
slide to show it was a Senate bill.                                                                                             
SENATOR MERRICK  said she  wonders why SB  101 didn't  reflect the                                                              
changes that were made in those bills.                                                                                          
MR.  ROSE said  he didn't  know the  respective sponsors'  thought                                                              
process,  but  REAP supported  moving  back  to a  real  Renewable                                                              
Portfolio   Standard   (RPS)   that  is   focused   on   renewable                                                              
technologies like  29 other states. By  the end of the  session in                                                              
2022,  House  Bill  301  had  moved  from  an  RPS  that  measures                                                              
megawatt  hours   generated  to  a  clean  energy   standard  that                                                              
measures  the reduction in  carbon emissions.  REAP believes  that                                                              
megawatt  hours  generated  is  a  much  cleaner  way  to  measure                                                              
compliance. REAP  is also concerned  that measuring  the reduction                                                              
of carbon emissions  is more difficult to control  and more easily                                                              
"gamed." He  opined that more  people are interested  in renewable                                                              
energy  than carbon  emissions.  REAP wanted  to focus  on an  RPS                                                              
like other states have done.                                                                                                    
2:31:51 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. ROSE advanced  to slide 22, Preliminary  Benefit/Cost Analysis                                                              
of 80% by  2040 RPS (NREL  Scenario #3). He explained  that absent                                                              
a cost analysis  from NRES, Alan Mitchell with  Analysis North did                                                              
an  analysis in  February 2022.  He looked  at how  much it  would                                                              
cost to  purchase and  install the amount  of solar,  wind, hydro,                                                              
and batteries  to achieve 80  percent renewable generation  in the                                                              
Railbelt.  The   costs  and  benefits   of  RPS  Scenario   3  are                                                              
summarized as follows:                                                                                                          
     • Capital    Cost   of    implementing   RPS    Scenario   #3                                                              
        (predominantly wind + solar) is $3.2 billion, relative to                                                               
        the Base Case.                                                                                                          
     • Present Value Benefits (fuel savings, with small offset                                                                  
       from renewable operating costs) are $6.7 billion.                                                                        
     • Capital costs could more than double and Scenario #3                                                                     
        would still be cost effective.                                                                                          
     • This analysis was done before federal tax credits for                                                                    
        renewable energy were extended for 10 years.                                                                            
He described the analysis as very conservative.                                                                                 
2:33:37 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. ROSE advanced to slide 23 and spoke to the following points:                                                                
                      Analysis Assumptions                                                                                    
        • Renewable capacity and fuel savings were used                                                                         
        without modification from NREL RPS Study Scenario                                                                       
             • NREL fuel savings are based on an AEA Fuel                                                                       
               Price Forecast                                                                                                   
             • Capital cost includes addition of hydro,                                                                         
               biomass, wind and solar                                                                                          
     •  All  necessary  transmission  upgrades   and  battery                                                                   
        energy storage are included in all of NREL's five                                                                       
        scenarios, including the Base Case.                                                                                     
     •  Wind capital  costs were  estimated  at $2,912/kW,  a                                                                   
        conservatively high estimate of 1.94  times the Lower                                                                   
        48 average in 2020,  based on the ratio of  the costs                                                                   
        of the Eva  Creek Wind Project  built in 2012  to the                                                                   
        national costs for wind in that same year.                                                                              
     •  Solar capital costs were estimated  from existing and                                                                   
        proposed Railbelt projects at $1,750/kW, roughly                                                                        
        1.46 times the average cost in the Lower 48.                                                                            
     •  A 3% inflation  adjusted discount  rate was  used for                                                                   
        calculating present value.                                                                                              
2:34:47 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. ROSE advanced to slide 24 and spoke to the following points:                                                                
      Additional Benefits That Were Not Considered in the                                                                   
                         2022 Analysis                                                                                        
     No federal  Production Tax  Credit (PTC) or  other types                                                                   
     of  federal   support.  Those   30%  tax  credits   were                                                                   
     extended by Congress for 10 years in August 2022.                                                                          
     Higher   LNG  prices.   The  AEA   gas  price   forecast                                                                   
     projected $11 Mcf gas in 2030.                                                                                             
     No  further  decline in  wind  and solar  costs  between                                                                   
     2020 and 2035                                                                                                              
     No  increase in  fuel  prices beyond  general  inflation                                                                   
     after 2040                                                                                                                 
     No carbon tax avoided                                                                                                      
2:36:29 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  ROSE  reviewed the  chart  on  slide  25, U.S.  2023  Planned                                                              
Capacity  Additions (gigawatts).  He reported  that EIA  estimates                                                              
that 54 percent  of the new  electrical generation in the  US this                                                              
year will come  from solar, 11 percent  will be from wind,  and 17                                                              
percent will be from battery storage.                                                                                           
2:37:00 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. ROSE advanced to slide 26 and spoke to the following points:                                                                
       How Much Renewable Capacity Gets Us to 80 Percent                                                                      
     • In 2021 Railbelt generated 4,685,898 MWh                                                                                 
     •  Equivalent to  535  MW  capacity, operating  at  100%                                                                   
        capacity factor (24 hours/day, 365 days)                                                                                
     • Renewables are currently 15% of total energy                                                                             
     • 80% RPS lozenge Need an additional 348 MW                                                                                
     •  One case with only wind and solar  (roughly emulating                                                                   
        NREL Scenario 3):                                                                                                       
          • 535 MW of installed solar @ 12% capacity factor                                                                     
             = 64 MW fossil equivalent                                                                                          
          • 860 MW of installed wind @ 33% capacity factor                                                                      
             = 284 MW fossil equivalent                                                                                         
2:39:35 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. ROSE advanced to slide 27, and reviewed the following:                                                                      
      The Railbelt Reliability Council Would Implement an                                                                     
     For  decades,  there was  no  mandate for  the  Railbelt                                                                   
     utilities  to  plan  together   or  adhere  to  regional                                                                   
     interconnection and reliability standards.                                                                                 
     In 2020,  the passage  of SB  123 required the  Railbelt                                                                   
     to  establish   an  Electric  Reliability   Organization                                                                   
     (ERO)  to  develop  and enforce  standards  and  execute                                                                   
     regional planning for generation and transmission.                                                                         
     The Railbelt  Reliability Council  (RRC), made up  of 13                                                                   
     utility and  non-utility stakeholders, was  certificated                                                                   
     in September  2022 as  the Railbelt Reliability  Council                                                                   
     New  generation  and  transmission  portfolios  will  be                                                                   
     developed  by the  RRC  through an  integrated  resource                                                                   
     plan  (IRP). The  first regional  IRP  for the  Railbelt                                                                   
     will  be  a   public  process  that  will   analyze  the                                                                   
     technical  and  economic  feasibility   of  a  range  of                                                                   
     options,  select a  preferred portfolio  and develop  an                                                                   
     action  plan before  submitting the  IRP package to  the                                                                   
     RCA for final approval.                                                                                                    
2:40:45 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. ROSE advanced to slide 28 and spoke to the following:                                                                       
           The $2.5 Billion Utility Transmission Ask                                                                          
     The Railbelt Utilities are asking the State for:                                                                           
        • $250 million for five years running            the                                                                    
          equivalent of $400/year for each of 625,000 PFD                                                                       
        • $125 million per year for another 10 years  the                                                                       
          equivalent of $200/year for each of 625,000 PFD                                                                       
     How  other  states  do it:  plan  transmission  corridor                                                                   
     requirements around  where renewable resources  are, and                                                                   
     rely more on storage                                                                                                       
     Instead  of  waiting  for  silver  bullets  and  federal                                                                   
     grants we need to make incremental progress now                                                                            
     We can do more than one thing at a time!                                                                                 
2:43:00 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. ROSE advanced to slide 29 and spoke to the following:                                                                       
                     A Railbelt RPS Would:                                                                                    
     •  Diversify  the  region's  generation   portfolio  and                                                                   
        protect consumers from rising rates.                                                                                    
     •  Displace  high-priced  natural  gas   fuel  used  for                                                                   
        electricity and help reserve Cook Inlet gas for the                                                                     
        region's heating needs.                                                                                                 
     •  Utilize  local, renewable  resources  like  wind  and                                                                   
        solar that have no fuel costs.                                                                                          
     • Stabilize Cook Inlet energy costs.                                                                                       
     •  Increase the  region's energy  independence and  keep                                                                   
        Alaska competitive in a fast changing world.                                                                            
     •  Create  jobs,  spur  statewide  innovation  and  keep                                                                   
        hundreds of millions of precious energy dollars                                                                         
        circulating in the state's economy.                                                                                     
     •  Establish a standard  that triggers action  before we                                                                   
        import LNG.                                                                                                             
2:44:10 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. ROSE advanced to slide 30 and spoke to the following points:                                                                
                     Time is of the Essence                                                                                   
         The Railbelt utilities and Enstar are meeting                                                                          
     regularly to discuss importing LNG                                                                                         
     The next NREL study will come out in late May                                                                              
       The Governor's Energy Security Task Force will not                                                                       
     report until the Fall                                                                                                      
       The Railbelt Reliability Council is about to start                                                                       
     getting staffed up                                                                                                         
     The Legislature will reconvene in January                                                                                  
      REAP respectfully suggests ongoing RPS hearings over                                                                    
     the interim                                                                                                              
2:45:22 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR TOBIN stated  that SB 101 is a policy call  about the plan                                                              
going forward  to ensure  that Alaskans  have stable and  reliable                                                              
energy generation  after fossil  fuels expire. She  cited examples                                                              
of  standards  that  have  been   implemented  into  law.  To  the                                                              
question about  why SB 101 doesn't  look like the bills  that were                                                              
heard in  previous years, she  said the  decision was to  focus on                                                              
Renewable Portfolio  Standards because  wind and solar  technology                                                              
is proven, reliable,  and affordable. It is ready today  so SB 101                                                              
is narrowly focused on renewables.                                                                                              
2:47:21 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR DUNBAR  said wind are solar  are clearly renewable  but he                                                              
wanted  assurance that  the expansion  of Bradley  Lake fits  into                                                              
the  model. He  also wondered  whether the  hydropower project  he                                                              
mentioned  earlier   would  be  considered  renewable   under  the                                                              
standards of the bill.                                                                                                          
2:48:33 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  MASON answered  that  the definition  of  a renewable  energy                                                              
resource is  found on page 9.  He confirmed that the  Bradley Lake                                                              
hydro  project  and  the  Dixon Diversion  would  fall  under  the                                                              
Renewable Portfolio  Standard legislation. The sponsor  has looked                                                              
at  language  that  would  provide   exemptions  to  some  of  the                                                              
compliance that could  be used in the Eklutna  example. To Senator                                                              
Merrick's  question  about  House  Bill  301, he  said  there  was                                                              
discussion about  whether to  add nuclear energy  to the  bill and                                                              
it  was  eventually  added.  After  considerable  discussion,  the                                                              
sponsor chose  not to include  nuclear in  SB 101. He  cited three                                                              
examples  to explain  why: Fukushima,  Chernobyl,  and Three  Mile                                                              
Island.  He  reiterated  that  the  bill  includes  non-compliance                                                              
waivers which would  allow additional technologies  without making                                                              
them part of a true Renewable Portfolio Standard.                                                                               
SENATOR  DUNBAR   said  he  appreciates  that  there's   a  waiver                                                              
process.  He added  that  he supports  nuclear  power but  doesn't                                                              
believe it pencils out in Alaska.                                                                                               
2:51:43 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR BJORKMAN opened public testimony on SB 101.                                                                               
2:52:13 PM                                                                                                                    
MICHAEL   JONES,   representing   self,  Homer,   Alaska,   voiced                                                              
opposition  to the creation  of the  Renewable Portfolio  Standard                                                              
outlined  in  SB 101,  citing  several  concerns. His  stance  was                                                              
substantiated  by  the  testimony  he  had  submitted  online.  He                                                              
argued  that  the   RPS  approach  imposed   artificial  renewable                                                              
targets  and  deadlines,  potentially   leading  to  a  suboptimal                                                              
generation  mix. Instead,  he advocated  for  supporting a  robust                                                              
generation  planning  effort  that   considers  a  wide  range  of                                                              
potential  solutions  without  restricting   choices  or  favoring                                                              
certain options based on arbitrary criteria.                                                                                    
MR.  JONES contended  that the  RPS  provided a  one-size-fits-all                                                              
solution that  hindered the  thoughtful, science-based  generation                                                              
resource planning  efforts the Railbelt utilities  had undertaken.                                                              
He  believes that  a  state-mandated  RPS removes  local  decision                                                              
making   from   those   who   would   bear   long-term   financial                                                              
consequences.  Such mandates,  in his  view, demand  too much  too                                                              
quickly,  resulting  in  high  electricity  costs  that  could  be                                                              
mitigated with a more gradual, bottom-up approach.                                                                              
MR.   JONES  also   raised  concerns   about  special   interests,                                                              
particularly   the   solar   lobby,   influencing   net   metering                                                              
requirements  for their  profit. He  saw this  as a costly,  long-                                                              
term  investment  plan,  with  the   burden  falling  on  electric                                                              
customers for decades.                                                                                                          
Finally, he  questioned the necessity  of the legislation,  noting                                                              
that  if wind  and  solar  generation  were genuinely  more  cost-                                                              
effective  than  gas-fired  alternatives,   market  forces  should                                                              
determine  the  best  technical  and  economic  solutions  without                                                              
legislative intervention.                                                                                                       
2:54:45 PM                                                                                                                    
MATTHEW   PERKINS,   Co-Founder   and   Vice   President,   Alaska                                                              
Renewables  (AR),  Fairbanks Alaska,  expressed  appreciation  for                                                              
the  previous speaker's  comments and  highlighted the  importance                                                              
of   a  bottom-up   approach  to   technology,  emphasizing   that                                                              
regulatory clarity  was crucial  for the investment  community. He                                                              
stated  that the  economists  at Alaska  Renewables  (AR) who  are                                                              
involved  in  multiple   wind  projects  across   the  state  have                                                              
stressed   that  clarity   in  regulations   is  vital.   This  is                                                              
particularly important  for renewables  because investing  in such                                                              
projects is a  long-term commitment, and investors  seek certainty                                                              
that aligns with their energy policies.                                                                                         
MR.  PERKINS   acknowledged  that   no  policy  was   perfect  but                                                              
underlined the  overdue nature of  a Renewable Portfolio  Standard                                                              
(RPS). AR's engineers  and economists recognize the  challenges of                                                              
energy  transitions  and  believe that  regulatory  clarity  would                                                              
benefit  both utilities  and the  investment  community. It  would                                                              
provide guidelines  and stability  for those  involved in  project                                                              
development,  ensuring  that  the   rules  of  the  game  wouldn't                                                              
suddenly change.                                                                                                                
MR.   PERKINS   acknowledged   the  importance   of   a   thorough                                                              
environmental review  in the U.S.  for renewable  energy projects.                                                              
He  affirmed   AR's  support  for   the  RPS  policy   in  Alaska,                                                              
considering it long  overdue and expressing eagerness  to continue                                                              
assisting the state in its energy transition efforts.                                                                           
2:57:14 PM                                                                                                                    
BOB  BUTERA, representing  self, Anchorage,  Alaska, testified  in                                                              
support of  SB 101. He voiced his  support for adopting  Renewable                                                              
Portfolio  Standards  in  Alaska.  He  pointed  out  that  similar                                                              
standards had been  suggested by both Governor  Palin and Governor                                                              
Dunleavy in  the past and  now was the  time to formalize  them in                                                              
state law.                                                                                                                      
MR.  BUTERA highlighted  the  concerning  trend in  the  Railbelt,                                                              
where Cook  Inlet gas production  was rapidly decreasing,  causing                                                              
gas prices  to rise. He raised  the issue that within  four years,                                                              
there might  not be enough  gas to meet  the demand,  as indicated                                                              
by  Hilcorp's  announcement  that   they  couldn't  guarantee  gas                                                              
delivery for future  contracts. He emphasized the  limited options                                                              
for quickly  changing the way buildings  are heated but  noted the                                                              
potential   to  transition   rapidly   to  renewable   electricity                                                              
generation, extending  the availability  of gas for  heating homes                                                              
and businesses.                                                                                                                 
In  addition to  enshrining renewable  standards  in statute,  Mr.                                                              
Butera  stressed  the  significance  of an  amendment  that  would                                                              
require integrated  resource plans to include options  for meeting                                                              
renewable  standards. These  plans,  especially  in the  Railbelt,                                                              
would shape  the future  of the  region's electricity  generation.                                                              
To  ensure a  decisive and  cost-effective  approach, he  believed                                                              
that updating the  plans with renewable standards  was crucial. He                                                              
expressed concern  that without a renewable  mandate, conservative                                                              
utilities  might  continue  to   downplay  the  impending  crisis,                                                              
opting  for a  slow  and cautious  path,  ultimately resulting  in                                                              
high energy  costs. He encouraged  the committee to  advance these                                                              
critical components of SB 101.                                                                                                  
2:59:20 PM                                                                                                                    
MIKE  CRAFT,  representing  self,   Fairbanks,  Alaska,  expressed                                                              
support  for SB  101 and  provided  some background.  He owns  the                                                              
Delta Wind  Farm and recalled  setting up  the first wind  farm on                                                              
the Railbelt  grid in 2008,  driven by the economic  opportunities                                                              
renewable  energy offered.  He highlighted  the economic  benefits                                                              
of  renewables  and  the  growing  awareness  of  the  health  and                                                              
environmental  impact  of  hydrocarbons   on  their  community  in                                                              
Fairbanks. He and  his partner shared their 17-year  commitment to                                                              
renewable energy  in Alaska and urged those listening  to consider                                                              
whether  they wanted  to  be  part of  a  national  plan that  had                                                              
proven to be reasonable, effective, and economically viable.                                                                    
MR. CRAFT  emphasized the positive  changes that  renewable energy                                                              
could bring,  both in terms of  health and cost savings.  He urged                                                              
everyone  to be  part  of the  plan  for Alaska's  energy  future,                                                              
expressing a sense  of disappointment about Alaska  falling behind                                                              
in  various aspects  and  a determination  to  make a  difference,                                                              
particularly for future generations.                                                                                            
MR.   CRAFT   stressed   his  commitment   as   a   developer   to                                                              
environmental  responsibility  and  mitigating  the  environmental                                                              
impacts of various projects.                                                                                                    
3:01:58 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR BJORKMAN closed public testimony on SB 101.                                                                               
CHAIR  BJORKMAN applauded  the sponsor  for  introducing the  bill                                                              
and  complemented  the Railbelt  utilities  for their  efforts  to                                                              
improve  the  grid  and diversify  power  generation  adhering  to                                                              
local  goals to  generate power  from renewable  sources. He  said                                                              
the existing  utilities have two  responsibilities to  the Alaskan                                                              
people: to keep  the lights on in  a reliable way and to  do so at                                                              
the cheapest  cost possible.  When utilities  face rising  natural                                                              
gas prices, it makes  sense for them to pursue  cheaper methods to                                                              
generate  power. The  presentation  made it  clear  and it's  been                                                              
demonstrated  that   there  is   space  for  renewables   to  sell                                                              
electricity to the local co-ops.                                                                                                
CHAIR  BJORKMAN described  the mandate  outlined in  SB 101  as an                                                              
aspirational  goal.  He  articulated  his  preference  that  local                                                              
utilities fulfill  their mission of ensuring  reliable electricity                                                              
and cost efficiency,  relying on the specific conditions  in their                                                              
respective   regions.  He   voiced   support  for   infrastructure                                                              
buildouts   through  the  intertie   and  improving   transmission                                                              
without passing the costs along to ratepayers.                                                                                  
3:05:32 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  DUNBAR   concurred  with   much  of  Senator   Bjorkman's                                                              
viewpoint  but  stressed  the  importance  of  acknowledging  that                                                              
change  requires  time. The  state  has, whether  deliberately  or                                                              
unintentionally,  implemented policies  that,  in some  instances,                                                              
explicitly  favor  hydrocarbons.   An  illustrative  case  is  the                                                              
provision of  cashable credits for  gas production in  Cook Inlet,                                                              
involving the  allocation of  hundreds of  millions of  dollars as                                                              
direct subsidies  to the hydrocarbon  industry. He  clarified that                                                              
this  is  not   a  critique  of  such  a  decision,   as  ensuring                                                              
affordable gas  is crucial. However,  had a similar  approach been                                                              
applied  to  renewable  projects,  the  outcome  might  have  been                                                              
different. He expressed  a willingness to explore this  as part of                                                              
an  energy diversification  strategy  and  expressed optimism  for                                                              
further examination of this issue during the interim.                                                                           
3:06:53 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  MERRICK   asked  which   stakeholders  participated   and                                                              
whether the RRC participated or would be included going forward.                                                                
MR. MASON  stated that he  had worked on  this matter  for several                                                              
years  and   was  pleased   when  Senator   Tobin  was   similarly                                                              
passionate. He worked  with Mike Craft and Chris Rose  who is part                                                              
of  the Railbelt  Reliability  Council.  He  relayed that  he  had                                                              
already  pledged  to  work with  the  utilities  and  stakeholders                                                              
through  the interim  to craft a  piece of  legislation that  both                                                              
Senator Bjorkman and Senator Tobin could support.                                                                               
SENATOR   MERRICK  asked   whether  her   constituents,  who   are                                                              
Matanuska  Electric ratepayers,  were  consulted when  SB 101  was                                                              
MR. MASON answered no.                                                                                                          
CHAIR BJORKMAN held SB 101 in committee.                                                                                        
3:09:24 PM                                                                                                                    
There being no further business to come before the committee,                                                                   
Chair Bjorkman adjourned the Senate Labor and Commerce Standing                                                                 
Committee meeting at 3:10 p.m.                                                                                                  

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
SB 101 ver R.pdf SL&C 5/5/2023 1:30:00 PM
SB 101
SB 101 Sponsor Statement 03.28.23.pdf SL&C 5/5/2023 1:30:00 PM
SB 101
SB 101 Sectional Analysis 03.28.23.pdf SL&C 5/5/2023 1:30:00 PM
SB 101
SB 101 Fiscal Note DCCED-AEA 04.28.2023.pdf SL&C 5/5/2023 1:30:00 PM
SB 101
SB 101 Fiscal Note DCCED-AIDEA 04.28.2023.pdf SL&C 5/5/2023 1:30:00 PM
SB 101
SB 101 Fiscal Note DCCED-RCA 04.28.2023.pdf SL&C 5/5/2023 1:30:00 PM
SB 101
SB 101 Presentation to SL&C-Chris Rose_REAP 05.04.23.pdf SL&C 5/5/2023 1:30:00 PM
SB 101
SB 101 Research NREL RPS Assessment 03.28.23.pdf SL&C 5/5/2023 1:30:00 PM
SB 101
SB 101 Public Testimony-Received by the Committee through 05.04.23.pdf SL&C 5/5/2023 1:30:00 PM
SB 101