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Labor and Commerce Committee Moves Bill to Extend Sunset on Emerging Energy Technology Fund

JUNEAU-The Senate Labor and Commerce Committee moved 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.

“Alaska is an energy state that is blessed with enough oil, natural gas, biomass, hydro, wind, tidal and geothermal energy to serve Alaskans and our nation for generations, “ said Senator McGuire. “I created the Emerging Energy Technology Fund to ensure that instead of just importing the know-how from outside and harvesting our resources, Alaskans are creating the technology to truly develop our energy resources.”

The Alaska Energy Authority (AEA) administers the fund and the Alaska Center for Energy and Power (ACEP) performs data collection. Together with a matching grant from the Denali Commission, the fund made $8.9 million available to develop emerging energy technologies in Alaska.

The Emerging Energy Technology Fund provides grants between $50,000 and $750,000 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.

“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.”

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

SB183 now heads to the Senate Rules Committee for further consideration.

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