Related Posts for Legislation

By Russel Stigall of Juneau Empire: Since its inception in 2009, Alaska’s Renewable Energy Fund has funneled tens of millions of dollars to renewable energy projects across Alaska. To date, 21 projects have been completed and, with the projects in the pipeline, it is estimated that projects funded by the program could save Alaskans 11.6 million gallons of fuel per year in 2016.
Sponsored by Reps. Thomas, Peggy Wilson, and Millett with Austerman, Edgmon, Herron, Miller and Peterson, House Bill 250 seeks to extend the fund, at $50 million annually, under the management of the Alaska Energy Authority to 2023. The fund is currently set to fold in 2013. Passing the bill this year would allow AEA to continue to manage the fund and renewable energy developers could count on funds to continue to flow uninterrupted.

To identify ways to increase efficiencies in the process used in the program, the Energy Authority has commissioned an independent evaluation by Vermont Energy Investment Company. Selected via a competitive process, Vermont is assisted by the Alaska Center for Energy and Power to provide information and recommendations. More

The state legislature has called a special session for this coming Monday, August 10th, to override former Governor Sarah Palin’s veto of $28.6 million in federal stimulus funds for renewable energy and energy efficiency.  Governor Sean Parnell has said he’ll request the funds from the federal government if it takes place.  Alaska was the only state to refuse the money.

So what could the money be used for?
The Alaska Housing Finance Corporation in March created a planned list of uses for the $28.6 million. The money would go to programs administered by the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation and the Alaska Energy Authority. The list included programs to:
- develop statewide greenbuilding standards
- provide rebates to residents who set up renewable energy systems
- pay for energy efficiency education workshops
- fund weatherization upgrades of homes
- provide matching funds for energy audits of commercial facilities in the state.
- provide rebates, incentives or payments for commerical, industrial and institutional facilities installing energy efficent equipment.
- fund research and development on renewable energy systems for communities to provide both electricity and heat.

Let your legislator know how you feel about this important issue.  Every constituent’s voice is important.  For legislative contact information click HERE

As the most ambitious energy and climate-change legislation ever introduced in Congress made its way to a floor vote last Friday, it grew fat with compromises, carve-outs, concessions and out-and-out gifts intended to win the votes of wavering lawmakers and the support of powerful industries.

The bill was freighted with hundreds of pages of special-interest favors, even as environmentalists lamented that its greenhouse-gas reduction targets had been whittled down.

The biggest concessions went to utilities, which wanted assurances that they could continue to operate and build coal-burning power plants without shouldering new costs. The utilities received not only tens of billions of dollars worth of free pollution permits, but also billions for work on technology to capture carbon-dioxide emissions from coal combustion to help meet future pollution targets.

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Badly outnumbered and months behind in the debate on energy and climate change, House Republicans plan to introduce an energy bill on Wednesday as an alternative to the Democratic plan barreling toward a House vote this month.

The Republican proposal, drafted by a group led by Representative Mike Pence of Indiana, leans heavily on nuclear power, setting a goal of building 100 reactors over the next 20 years. No new nuclear plants have been ordered in the United States since 1978 because of the high cost of construction and uncertainty about regulatory approval.

The bill also provides incentives for increased oil and gas production on public and private lands and offshore. It would also authorize oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska, a focus of 30 years of controversy in Congress.

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Legislative leaders are asking the federal government how long they have to decide whether to override Gov. Sarah Palin’s veto of $28.56 million in energy aid — and whether an override is worth the trouble if they have to rely on the governor to accept the funds.

An override would require a three-fourths majority of the Legislature, or 45 votes. House Democrats announced they would vote to overturn the governor’s action. Sen. President Gary Stevens, R-Kodiak, said his bipartisan majority caucus is disappointed in the veto, but he can’t rationalize calling a special session without a guarantee that the Legislature can accept the money without Palin’s OK. Sen. Gene Therriault, R-North Pole, said some within his four-person minority are dismayed Palin rejected the funds.

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The Senate Energy Committee is working its way through a massive draft energy bill that focuses heavily on renewable power.  Tomorrow the committee will gather to “mark-up” or debate and amend the legislation.  Their focus will be a national renewable electricity standard.

Download the audio report here

When the first session of Alaska’s 26th Legislature comes to a close this weekend, elected officials will have introduced more than 400 bills. As of Wednesday, they had passed about ten. A last-minute flurry of legislation is status quo, but a boatload of ideas will still be put on ice until the second session begins in January 2010.

One bill meant to trigger energy efficiency projects in state-owned buildings will likely be one of those revisited during the second session.  Senate Bill 121, and the state House version HB 148, seem to have bi-partisan support, appealing to liberals who want to reduce the collective carbon footprint and conservatives who want to save the state money, even if they’re suspicious of whether carbon footprints are a genuine concern.  These bills enact into law efficiency standards for public facilities that saved the state about $360,000 on utility bills in an eight building pilot project.  Next year it is estimated that the eight buildings will save the state more than a half million dollars. 

REAP Executive Director Chris Rose gives his opinion on the bill.

On May 21, the U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee approved H.R. 2454, “The American Clean Energy and Security Act,” by a vote of 33 to 25.  The legislation is a comprehensive approach to America’s energy policy that charts a new course towards a clean energy economy.  The American Clean Energy and Security Act will create millions of new clean energy jobs, save consumers hundreds of billions of dollars in energy costs, enhance America’s energy independence, and cut global warming pollution. 

The bill includes:

  • A clean energy title that promotes renewable sources of energy, carbon capture and sequestration technologies, clean electric vehicles, and the smart grid and electricity transmission.
  • An energy efficiency title that increases energy efficiency across all sectors of the economy, including buildings, appliances, transportation, and industry.
  • A global warming title that places limits on emissions of heat-trapping pollutants.  This legislation would cut global warming pollution by 17% compared to 2005 levels in 2020, by 42% in 2030, and by 83% in 2050.  These are science-based targets and within the range agreed to by USCAP.
  • A title that protects U.S. consumers and industry and promotes green jobs during the transition to a clean energy economy.

Read the summary here

Full text

Lawmakers are urging Governor Palin to reconsider her plan to reject $28.6 million for enerygy programs.

Alaska legislators argue Gov. Sarah Palin is overstating the strings attached to federal stimulus money she’s planning to reject. But Palin isn’t backing down, saying she doesn’t want the money because it requires a state energy code. 

“We shouldn’t have to change our local laws to accept more of this federal package, as the feds already control much of our young state, thus prohibiting our opportunities to responsibly develop,” Palin said in an e-mail.  The Legislature last month voted overwhelmingly to accept all of the stimulus funds — including the energy money, with legislative leaders saying they saw few of the strings that the governor expressed worry about.

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A Senate committee advanced on Monday bills designed to spur investment in renewable energy projects and foster greater energy efficiency in new public buildings.

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