A Free-Market Energy Blog

Alaska’s “Green” Plan B: Political Energy is Back

By -- March 5, 2024

“The prospect of Alaska becoming Germany energy-wise is a troubling concept to imagine. At least Germany had industry and an economy to destroy…. It’s up to us to elect common-sense realists instead of ideologues.”

Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy’s plan for a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) to mandate unreliable and costly sources of energy has stalled out, thanks to Jesse Bjorkman, Chair of the Senate Labor and Commerce Committee. But sinister private interests and ethically corrupt bureaucrats are out to force a Green New Deal on taxpayers and ratepayers under a new guise.

Governor Dunleavy has now teamed with the Alaskan House Energy Committee to push for an equally bad Clean Energy Standard (CES). Introduced February 20, House Bill 368 is titled “An Act relating to clean energy standards and a clean energy transferable tax credit; and providing an effective date.”

Putting the Fix In

A year ago, Governor Dunleavy tasked the Alaska Energy Security Task Force to create an energy plan (government plan) to lower Alaskan electricity rates to 10¢/kWh (his “moonshot”). Currently, Alaskans pay about 24¢/kWh, one of the highest rates in the country. RPS was a key component of the original draft plan, but at the 11th hour, CES became the new Trojan Horse. 

The fix was in. No stakeholders relevant to the development of our reliable sources of energy were on the task force assigned to create a comprehensive statewide energy plan. “Stakeholders” who actually have invested in, know well, and are ready to extract and utilize readily available local coal and gas were excluded from planning and considerations. The result? An energy plan to “Adopt a Clean Energy Standard with incentives to diversify generation.”

Dueling Plans

The Regulatory Commission of Alaska (RCA) unanimously opposed the RPS legislation in December 2023. House Bill 368, a Clean Energy “Standard,” appears to be the first of many standards tied to what is to come from the Electric Reliability Organization (ERO).  

Although this legislation comes ahead of the ERO Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), new standards and modifications are subject to the review by the RCA. The ERO concept was signed into law in 2020 and was heavily supported by our friends at the Renewable Energy Alaska Project (REAP). The duties of the ERO include developing reliability standards that provide for an adequate level of reliability of an interconnected electric energy transmission network and the development of integrated resource plans. In part, the ERO legislation states:

An electric utility must participate in an electric reliability organization if the utility operates in an interconnected electric energy transmission network served by an electric reliability organization certificated by the commission.

The idea, according to REAP, is for ERO to

remove barriers to renewable energy development in a number of ways. It will mandate non-discriminatory access by independent companies that wish to sell renewables into the grid, take a first step toward eliminating redundant fees to transmit power along the grid and establish a transparent, public “integrated resource planning” process to determine what new generation projects the region will build in the future.”

Many climate alarmist groups that are demanding mandates to Alaskan energy were involved in the creation of the ERO. The Alaska Institute for Climate and Energy (ALICE) provided a study on a ~5 billion dollar Eklutna Pumped Energy Storage Solution, per Governor Dunleavy’s request. According to ALICE

The science is clear: the world, including Alaska, must reduce Greenhouse Gas (GhG) emissions from burning fossil fuels to net zero by 2050 to keep our planet below 1.5-degree Celsius warming and avert dangerous run-away climate change.


The interest of consumers are not best served by relying on private companies with a profit motive as the only potential actors. IPPs, member-owned utilities, and the state should all be able to pursue beneficial renewable energy, storage, and transmission projects

Moving the Railbelt utility system off fossil fuels (currently 85% of our generation) to a fully integrated and resilient wind-solar-storage powered system serves the highest public interest as we face the existential threat of climate change. We urge the RCA to do everything in its power to facilitate that immediate and rapid transition on the Railbelt and throughout Alaska.

More central planning where we can least afford it.  Witness the devastation that occurred in 2021 with Winter Storm Uri in Texas under the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT)’s central planning of electric utilities.

Alaska’s Electric Reliability Organization is Railbelt Reliability Council, RRC, whose mission is

Serve the public interest and provide the greatest long-term value to the Railbelt by working collaboratively and transparently to establish and uphold protocols that sustainably balance safety, reliability, cost, and environmental responsibility. 

The RRC will insert themselves into the process and centrally plan for the utilities on the railbelt that provide power to 75% of Alaska’s population. The utilities under their planning purview include Homer Electric Association (HEA), Chugach Electric Association (CEA), Matanuska Electric Association (MEA), and Golden Valley Electric Association (GVEA) which currently have boards that represent the needs of the rate payers. 

The council is made up of a 15-member board, many with questionable proclivities as it relates to the future reliability and affordability of our power, given their backgrounds and roles they currently occupy at their day jobs.

This central planning “service” comes to us with a surcharge. Although the surcharge has already made it onto the bills of rate payers—(see ERO Surcharge on your electric utility bill)—the RCA has suspended the tariff and has approved the surcharge on an interim basis. The current interim surcharge for Chugach Electric ratepayers is $0.00054 per kilowatt hour (kWh).

With reliability being the key word to the Railbelt Reliability Council, what does allowing renewables onto the grid have to do with reliability?  Nothing. All the central planning processes that are being rapidly established, along with the allowance by the RCA for independent power producers to enter onto the grid will come at great costs with no clarity or accountability as to who represents the rate payer. This is done on purpose to avoid liability. 

The development of the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) will be key to the transformation of our grid. The ERO must consider reliability and cost factors, however they will be able to weigh in on other interests that will have a negative impact on rate payers such as the narrative that the earth has reached global boiling and the installation of windmills and solar will have an effect on the sun.

In a white paper by REAP on the need for an Independent System Operator, the word affordability appears zero times; reliability appears two times (and not in reference to reliability as a priority); renewable appears at least twenty times. and climate appears five times. It is abundantly clear how these competing priorities will be weighed when you have the likes of Chris Rose with REAP and IPPs with self-serving interests to sell their renewable energy representing this “reliability council.”

Independent Power Producers

The ability for Independent Power Producers (IPPs) to enter onto the grid and amendments to regulations to facilitate integration were adopted and approved by the RCA in late 2015.  Utilities are rapidly being compelled to sell off their generating capacity to independent power producers. 

Much of this is due to unrealistic decarbonization goals that are being adopted by utilities. IPPs are allowed to steal money from ratepayers by supplying unreliable energy paid for with special funding and subsidies, while the host utilities bear the costs to make them reliable. In other words, IPPs are opportunistic ticks on the backsides of humanity, allowable only by coopted, feckless, corrupted politicians and bureaucrats.

Present an IPP whose intent is to serve the interests of the country and state, provide reliable and affordable energy that stands on its own without reliance on the utility and I will stop complaining.

Clean Energy” Standards

In a conversation with a member of the House Energy committee, it was stated that Governor Dunleavy wants an RPS because he needs assurances for investors from the lower 48. The narrative? This CES bill is a compromise from the mandates within the RPS bill. As RPS appears to have died in the Senate Labor and Commerce Committee, the governor is taking another run at compliance and preparation for his investors. But Governor Dunleavy’s trumped letter to Warren Buffet (please read it) is a subterfuge for the politically correct in place of the economically correct.

Clean Energy Standards require that a minimum share of a utilities electricity to be generated from “clean” sources.  They require utilities to buy wind and solar power regardless of their cost. The idea has been sold by using half-truths that these clean sources are cheaper. They are “cheaper” on the backs of our children and grandchildren through taxpayer subsidies, only to later compromise the reliability of the grid, eventually resulting in costly increases to the ratepayer.  (Think of a “cheaper” car with a trick motor having a lot of problems down the line.)

Similar to how electric vehicles are sold as being cheaper, the costs are hidden with everyone else paying for the infrastructure, the same concept applies here where our utilities foot the bill for making the grid 100% reliable. Wind and solar cannot compete with conventional energy such as natural gas and coal, so the greens need a law to force utilities to adopt the use of their whirligigs and whatnots. Clean Energy Standards are hidden energy taxes. 

CES is being sold as an acceptable stand-in for RPS because there are no mandates to reach a certain percentage of renewables as of a certain date. This too is a half-truth. 

The legislation states the load-serving entity’s portfolio shall include clean energy in the following percentages:  35 percent by December 31, 2036, and 60 percent by December 31, 2051. 

Clean energy is defined as follows:

  • When generated by a load-serving entity, does not release carbon dioxide or releases carbon dioxide in an amount that is offset by the amount of carbon dioxide the load-serving entity absorbs or removes from the atmosphere;
  • Is generated from coal with a sulfur content of one percent or less by weight;
  • Is generated from renewable energy resources; or
  • Is generated from nuclear energy;

The bill states that new construction of a large power facility cannot be detrimental to meeting the clean energy standard.  This means that we cannot bring new sources of energy found in abundance in our own state unless we play the unproven and wildly expensive game of carbon offsets or carbon capture.  One of the main priorities laid out by the Alaska Energy Security Task Force is to “significantly increase load to drive down energy rates” couple that with this CES mandate that new sources must fall into the clean energy category, I see this hardly different from the RPS mandated percentages. 

While we have more time allowed to meet the percentages and the utilities have no fee per se, but when you combine the Railbelt Reliability Council and their interests, the Independent Power Producers and their interests, the result isn’t necessarily a mandate but our co-ops being under the gun to adapt to the whims of investors and environmental special interests to integrate their toy things onto our grid. Our co-ops have boards that represent the rate payers and our needs.  This process and legislation usurps that completely.

Intermittency Risks

Weather happens in Alaska regularly. And when it does, wind and solar are absolutely useless. An example of this is the CIRI wind farm. When we were most desperate for the power in late-January, its fairytale 17MW nameplate was nowhere to be seen. At the most critical time, in a 24-hour period, 2% of name plate was achieved. It was nothing but a big hunk of ugly yard art.

Imagine any other endeavor where an 2% success rate is acceptable. The gas plants held up their end of the bargain that day. Eklutna hydro was spooled up to 100% capacity and generated 100% of nameplate capacity. As far as the Railbelt Reliability Council should be concerned …. Reliably renewable is an oxymoron.

All of these policies and processes together are critical to compromising the system, disenfranchising and separating the ratepayer from ownership. In turn, this will allow for more renewable generation such as wind and solar farms with our co-ops transforming into nothing more than a beat down and unreliable billing function.

What comes during and after the co-ops are rendered useless surely won’t be fun to live though. Jenn Miller with Renewable IPP, gleeful about the construction of the largest solar panel farm in Willow, Alaska, said it best “The state’s power portfolio could be more like Germany’s – Germany gets a similar amount of sunlight to Alaska, but about 10% of its power comes from solar energy….”  The prospect of Alaska becoming Germany energy-wise is a troubling concept to imagine. At least Germany had industry and an economy to destroy. I suppose it is better to be a has been than a never was. Poor Alaska never stood a chance.

In August of 2023, the North American Reliability Corporation (NERC) identified energy policy and grid transformation as the top two risks among five significant evolving and interdependent risks to grid reliability. According to the report:

Existing resource sufficiency requirements and underlying studies are based on a pre-decarbonization paradigm that traditionally focused on peak capacity requirements and assumed energy sufficiency would result; traditional resource adequacy planning is capacity focused…. With a higher proportion of variable and renewable fueled resources evolving, this aspect of resource adequacy must be more specifically assessed.” 

Hint: We are warned. Clean Energy Standards is energy policy to be avoided. 

What Can Be Done?

In a state where we are in an “energy crisis,” shoehorning our utilities to buy unreliable sources of energy is the last concept that we need to adopt.  House bill 368 for CES is in the special energy committee.  Call and email the chair, Representative George Rauscher. 907-465-4859.  Representative.George.Rauscher@akleg.gov

To date, two hearings have been held on this bill.  The hearing held on February 29th was from invited testimony from Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation who stated there is no source of uranium, no current spent fuel storage capability, no known deployment timeframes and provided no costs.  The next hearings are scheduled for March 5th and 6th at 10:15 AM for more invited testimony.  If you do not have time to call in or email, you can submit a Public Opinion Message (POM).  The Public Opinion Messaging System allows you to send a fifty word message to individual legislators and entire committees. 

Coal. The Alaska Energy Security plan states that Alaska’s known coal reserves could “power the entire country for decades if not centuries.”  218 pages with a 1714 page appendix and nothing stated about expanding the use of coal in our energy crisis.  Rejuvenate Healy Coal. 

Natural Gas. What is the yearly cost to make the gas field viable compared to all of these other fairy tales that have received far more attention than expanding and upgrading the generation infrastructure and production we already have?

Alaska should be more like Kansas.  Declare sovereignty:  Article XIII of the Kansas Republican Party Platform States:

Kansas leaders should not be allowed to arbitrarily deny permits to build new power and energy-producing plants. Carbon dioxide, one of the most common gases on earth, should not be declared a pollutant nor used as an excuse to deny the construction of new power plants. We oppose so-called Cap and Trade legislation. We oppose efforts to force communities to engage in sustainable development under guidance from the federal government or the United Nations.

Adopt resolutions.  “Whereas irrefutable evidence demonstrates that ill-health effects to mankind and the environment are occurring due to the side effects of industrial scale wind installations. These occurrences are widespread, wherever these installations have been constructed; Therefore, be it resolved, the Republican Party of Kansas, in view of the preponderance of evidence, will support candidates and legislative intent regarding energy policy that will serve to provide protection to our citizens security, physical health, financial health, access to reliable energy and property rights across all Kansas counties.”

Support common sense candidates in your local utility board elections. The incumbents up for reelection at Chugach Electric voted to support decarbonization initiatives and Renewable Portfolio Standards.  These concepts have been proven to dismantle utilities and co-ops across the country when implemented. Chugach Electric has elections beginning mid-April with two candidates that fit that bill. Please make a plan to vote and support Todd Lindley and Dan Rogers. Visit their website at https://www.votechugachstability.org/  

It’s up to us to elect common-sense realists instead of ideologues. Let’s challenge our friends and neighbors to increase turnout this year from 16% to 18%. 


  1. Ed Martin Jr  

    Great work on this article Kassie


  2. Mark Krebs  

    I feel your pain.


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