CESA Member Alaska
Alaska Energy Authority (AEA) is a public corporation of the state. The Authority was created by the Alaska Legislature in 1976 in order to reduce the cost of energy in Alaska. AEA's major programs include:
Renewable Energy Fund
The Alaska State Legislature created the $250 million Renewable Energy Fund (REF) in 2008. This legislation placed Alaska at or near the forefront of the 50 states in funding for renewable energy. The Legislature authorized AEA to manage the REF project application process, project evaluations, recommendations, completion of grant agreements, and disbursement of funds to grantees. Through the AEA-administered Renewable Energy Fund, $202.5 million for 228 renewable energy projects have been approved to date. Through December 2012, $114.5 milion in grant payments have been made by the REF.
Alternative Energy and Energy Efficiency Program
AEA's Alternative Energy and Energy Efficiency (AEEE) program currently manages and funds projects and initiatives totaling $234 million in state and federal funding (activity substantially increased after REF implementation). This program promotes the use of renewable resources as alternatives to fossil fuel-based power and heat. It also promotes measures to improve energy production and end-use efficiency. In rural areas, the program may support developing local sources of coal and natural gas as diesel alternatives. The AEEE program is divided into eight separate program areas: Alaska Energy Inventory; AEA Biomass Energy; AEA Combined Heat and Power; Energy Efficiency and Conservation; AEA Geothermal; Hydroelectric; AEA Ocean and River Energy; and the AEA Wind Program. As the start of 2012, Alaska had 15.3 megawatts of installed energy capacity. By the end of 2012, total installed capacity had increased to 63.8 megawatts.
Emerging Energy Technology Fund
AEA manages this fund to support demonstration projects that test emerging energy technologies or methods of conserving energy; improve an exisiting energy technology; or deploy an existing technology that has not previously been demonstrated in Alaska. Successful applicants need to accomplish those objectives and expect to be commercially viable within five years. AEA has received 70 proposals and 16 projects were selected for funding in 2012.
Power Project Fund
This program provides loans to electric utilities, regional electric authorities, local governments, regional and village corporation, and independent power producers for smaller scale Alaska energy projects and is directed at power projects with less than 10 megawatts output capacity, bulk fuel facilities, and transmission and distribution facilities. The program provides for financing of waste-to-energy projects, energy conservation and energy efficiency projects, and alternative energy facilities and equipment.
Bulk Fuel Upgrades Program
Presently, Alaska's remote communities rely on diesel fuel for heating and power generation. Many rural bulk fuel tank farms were constructed more than 20 years ago and are in poor condition. With substantial contributions from the Denali Commission, AEA's Bulk Fuel Upgrades Program undertakes the design and construction of modern, code-compliant bulk fuel facilities in rural Alaska. Since 2000, in partnership with the Denali Commission, AEA has completed more than $304 million in Rural Bulk Fuel and Rurual Power System Update projects.
Rural Power Systems Upgrade Program
Electricity provides for lighting, communications, heat, and power necessary to operate infrastructure that supports all other elements needed in any community to permit safe and healthy living conditions. In rural communities throughout Alaska, electricity is generated by a small, local system using diesel fuel at a cost often three to five times higher than in Alaska's urban areas. AEA's Rural Power Systems Upgrade Program (RPSU) concentrates on powerhouse and electrical distribution upgrades. Energy efficiency, reliability, safety, and sustainability are primary drivers during the conceptual design, final design, and construction process. Identification of available renewable energy and interoperability is high priority. As of December 2012, 51 of 114 Rural Power Upgrades have been completed.
Power Cost Equalization Program
AEA's Power Cost Equalization (PCE) Program provides economic assistance to customers in rural areas of Alaska where the kilowatt-hour charge for electricity can be three to five times higher than the charge in more urban areas of the state. PCE only pays a portion of approximately 30% of all kWh's sold by the participating utilities.
PCE fundamentally improves Alaska's standard of living by helping rural areas maintain the availability of communications and the operation of basic infrastructure and systems, including water and sewer, incinerators, heat, and light. PCE is a core element underlying the financial viability of centralized power generation in rural communities. In FY 2012, AEA disbursed $39,2 milliin in PCE payments.
Technical Assistance Program
This program provides training, consultation, and on-site technical assistance to rural utilities for the operation and maintenance of their electrical generation and distribution systems. Through this program, AEA helps communities improve the efficiency, safety, and reliability of their power systems and reduce the risk and severity of emergency conditions. The ability a community has and the methods it uses to maintain and operate its powerhouse have a significant impact on efficiency. Operator training, parts availability, automatic system monitoring, data trending, and data analysis along with proper maintenance are key factors in keeping reliability, efficiency, and performance high.
AEA and the Denali Commission Training Fund provide training to rural Alaskans to ensure that local residents have the best skills with which to sustain their energy infrastructure in a business-like manner.
(Updated April 2013)
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