Renewables: 30% of Alaska power
Renewable energy, mainly from hydro and wind, provided 30 percent of Alaska electric power requirements in 2016 but the percentage dropped to 29 percent in 2017 because of variations in rain and seasonal snow-pack, which affect hydro. The state’s goal is 50 percent renewable by 2025 but achieving that will be problematic given the small number of new renewable energy projects being planned, the state Department of Commerce and Economic De- velopment told legislators. The largest new project now underway, the Bradley Lake expansion, will increase the percentage less than 1 percent. At this pace it will take 100 years to reach 50 percent, the department said. Still, Alaska has seen a rapid in- crease in its renewable portfolio in the last 10 years. In 2009 only 17 percent of power needs were met by renewable energy. The commerce department hosts the Alaska Energy Authority, the state entity charged with promoting renewable energy.
Hydro One deal is scuttled
Hydro One’s acquisition of Avista, the holding company that also owns Juneau’s Alaska Electric Light & Power is off. The Regulatory Commission of Alaska had approved the deal but utility com- missions in Washington and Idaho denied approval based on concerns over political influence on Hy- dro One of the Province of Ontario, which is a 47 percent shareholder. When a new political party took power in Ontario in 2018 the province used its ownership stake to oust the CEO and the board of Hydro One. That was a red flag for the Washington and Idaho regulators.
Chugach Electric Association is expected to file in March for Regulatory Commission of Alaska approval of its acquisition of Anchorage’s city-owned Municipal Light & Power. Anchorage’s assembly and Chugach’s board approved the deal in December. A critical part of the RCA’s decision will be on Chugach’s proposed plan to recover costs from rate- payers. If the commission approves the plan Chugach would move to secure several hundred million dollars in financing. The RCA will have six months to review the application.