Senators Recommend Spending on Energy Projects
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 21, 2010
McGuire, Wielechowski release list of funding proposals
(JUNEAU) – Senator Bill Wielechowski (D-Anchorage) and Senator Lesil McGuire (R-Anchorage), co-chairs of the Senate Resources Committee, today released their recommendations for budget appropriations that will help lower energy costs for Alaskans and move communities towards greater energy independence and sustainability.
“During the last eight months, we travelled around the state, listening to Alaskans tell us about their energy needs and share their suggestions for positive change,” said Senator McGuire, who also chairs the Energy Committee. “We have put together a list of projects that reflect their input.”
“People all over the state, from Ruby to Haines, told us how mounting energy costs are taking a toll on family budgets,” said Senator Wielechowski. “Our recommendations are designed to help Alaskans get out from under crippling energy costs.”
The recommendations build on previous legislative efforts, such as weatherization spending and home energy efficiency rebates. They include calls for:
- $25 million more for weatherization
- $175,000 for a public education campaign to help Alaskans learn how to lower their costs through inexpensive efficiency improvements
- $10 million for continued feasibility studies and pre-permitting work on Southcentral hydroelectric projects, including Susitna and Chakachamna
- $100,000 to provide technical assistance to businesses to help them decrease energy-related expenditures and improve profitability, and
- $25 million for the Renewable Energy Fund to follow through on the legislature’s commitment to provide $300 million over 6 years for clean and affordable renewable energy
“Together with SB 220, the Alaska Sustainable Energy Act, these recommendations will help provide affordable energy to Alaskans while encouraging economic development and jobs in-state,” Senator Wielechowski added.
“Some of these projects are expensive and will take years to complete,” added Senator McGuire. “However, this list will provide a good starting point for much needed discussion within the legislature on energy spending.”
Senators Wielechowski and McGuire today released a letter to the co-chairs of the Senate Finance Committee, outlining the need for these investments and listing 17 specific budget recommendations.