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Senate Unanimously Extends Emerging Energy Technology Fund

Fund providing grants to test emerging energy technologies extended until 2020

JUNEAU - The Alaska State Senate passed Senate Bill 183, which would extend the Emerging Energy Technology Fund (EETF) until January 1, 2020. The Alaska State Legislature established the fund four year ago to provide grants for demonstration projects of new technologies which can help communities reduce rising energy costs. Senator Lesil McGuire, R-Anchorage, spearheaded the program, which was implemented under the Alaska Sustainable Energy Act passed by the Legislature in 2010.

“The main goal behind this fund is help lower the cost of energy for all Alaskans while at the same time making Alaska the leader in emerging energy technologies,” said Senator McGuire. “What’s amazing to me is in just the short time this program has been up and running, we have already seen a wide-range of projects and communities across the state benefit from the grants.”

The Emerging Energy Technology Fund provides grants between to Alaska businesses, electric utilities, post-secondary institutions, tribal or local governments and nonprofits to test an emerging energy technology in Alaska. A preference is given to projects that demonstrate a partnership with the University of Alaska or another Alaska post-secondary institution and technologies will have to demonstrate that they could be commercially viable within five years.

So far, 15 emerging technology projects have already started work including energy efficiencies for diesel generators, developing hydrokinetic resources, enhancing wind power and storage capabilities, heat pumps and biomass across the state. The projects were submitted from Juneau, Fairbanks, Kodiak, Anchorage, Palmer, Delta Junction, Nenana, Nikiski, Igiugig, Tuntutuliak, Kwigillingok, and Kotzebue.

The Alaska Energy Authority (AEA) administers the fund and the Alaska Center for Energy and Power (ACEP) performs data collection. Priority is given to Alaska businesses, utilities, non-profits, tribal or local governments and other organizations to test emerging technologies or methods of conserving energy or to improve or deploy an existing technology that has not been demonstrated in Alaska.

“Alaskans are innovative, creative and always up for a challenge,” said Senator McGuire. “The high price of energy in Alaska creates a unique opportunity for inventors. Technologies that might make no commercial sense in the lower 48 could mean huge savings for rural communities and Alaskans.”

Shortly after the bill passed today, AEA opened registration for the second round of grants.

For a complete list of EETF projects and their progress, click here.

SB183 now heads to the House for further consideration.

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