Tuesday, January 12, 2010

HEA Extends Application Deadline for Board Appointments (& more)

HEA Extends Application Deadline for Board Appointments
At yesterday's HEA Operations Committee meeting the Board voted to extend the deadline to apply for the vacant seats until January 22. So far there are five names on the list of applicants. HEAMF is making an effort to learn enough about each person to recommend which seem most qualified. If you are interested in applying you must be a resident of HEA District 3. Applications are available on the HEA website (http://www.homerelectric.com/) or at HEA offices in Homer and Kenai. They must be returned by Friday, January 22, 2010 at 5 PM. Contact Teresa Gamble at 283-2334 or tgamble(email@)homerelectric.com for additional information.

Net Metering
The Net Metering Regulation adopted by the Regulatory Commission of Alaska (RCA) in October was sent to the Alaska Department of Law for review. It could be signed into law by March 2010. The next step is for the RCA to adopt regulations governing how to tie your alternative energy system to the electric grid. The RCA will probably schedule a workshop on interconnection for some time in February. Public notice must be given 30 days before the workshop. Look for Matter Number: R-09-002, Consideration of the Adoption of Regulations Implementing an Interconnection Standard, on the RCA website (http://rca.alaska.gov/RCAWeb/home.aspx).

Operation "Independent Light"
This is HEA's alternative to the Healy 2 coal plant. The plan includes adding a Steam Turbine Generator (STG) at Nikiski to take advantage of waste heat (formerly used by the now closed Agrium plant). This would greatly increase the electricity produced without burning any added fuel. In addition, a new natural gas fired generation facility would be installed in Soldotna to generate even more power. Finally, appropriate upgrades would be made to existing substations at each location. A pre-bid conference was held for interested vendors in November and bids are due back by January 15. HEA staff hopes to conduct bid evaluations and make a recommendation to the full Board by late January or early February.

None of this comes cheap. HEA will need to borrow as much as $130 million to complete all parts of this proposal. Watch for more information on this in coming updates.

Alaska Railbelt Regional Integrated Resource Plan (RIRP) Report
This study was commissioned by the Alaska Energy Authority to help assess and guide railbelt utility planning for the next 50 years. The report is long and comprehensive but, in addition to recommending that the Healy 2 plant remain mothballed, includes the following among its general recommendations:

1. The State should work closely with the utilities and other stakeholders to make a decision regarding the formation of GRETC [Greater Railbelt Energy and Transmission Company]and to develop the required governance plan, financial and capital improvement plan, capital management plan and transmission access plan, and address other matters related to the formation of the proposed regional entity.

2. The State should establish certain energy-related policies, including:
o The pursuit of large hydroelectric facilities
o DSM/EE [Demand Side Management/Energy Efficiency] program targets
o RPS (i.e., target for renewable resources), and the pursuit of wind, geothermal, and tidal...projects in addition to large hydroelectric projects
o System benefit charge to fund DSM/EE programs and or renewable projects

The whole report can be downloaded from the Alaska Energy Authority website (http://www.aidea.org/AEA/regionalintegratedresourceplan.html).

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