State has new tool to facilitate infrastructure
June 12, 2012
Sen. Lesil McGuire | Anchorage Daily News: I applaud Gov. Sean Parnell for his support of Senate Bill 25 and for his recognition of the Legislature’s commitment to energy infrastructure in Alaska. In addition to funding for the renewable energy grant fund, weatherization and basic energy infrastructure, this year’s budget also included an appropriation to endow a new, sustainable energy program in Alaska. The transfer of $125 million to the Sustainable Energy Transmission and Supply Development Fund (SETS) created by my Senate Bill 25 is an important step towards a new way of doing business in Alaska.
As chair of the Senate Energy Committee, I traveled the state with members of the House and Senate in 2009 to hear from Alaskans about the energy challenges facing communities. That effort led to the adoption of a State Energy Policy (House Bill 306) and an omnibus energy bill (Senate Bill 220) in 2010. While we accomplished a lot that session, I remained concerned that our work wasn’t finished and remembered that in each community I visited, both utilities and Alaskans told me that access to capital was one of the biggest obstacles they faced in building new infrastructure. In my role on the Finance Committee, I also saw how declining throughput in the trans-Alaska pipeline will threaten funding for grant programs in the future and challenge Alaska to find new ways of doing business.