Opinion: Energizing progress toward renewable power

We thank AEL&P for being a good neighbor in Juneau

  • Tuesday, January 18, 2022 2:30am
  • Opinion

On Dec. 21, 2021, Connie Hulbert, President of Alaska Electric Light and Power, responded to a letter from Renewable Juneau asking about AEL&P’s role as a private, regulated utility providing power to the residents and businesses of Juneau. Renewable Juneau, as a nonprofit organization, is delighted that she clearly stated support of the Juneau Renewable Energy Strategy. We look forward to working with AEL&P to ensure that 80% of Juneau’s energy comes from renewable resources as outlined in the JRES.

AEL&P has long been a strong supporter of clean energy in the capital city and has taken many steps to help us move toward this goal.

Hulbert stated that AEL&P:

— Provides information to the CBJ on their energy consumption.

— Assists and collaborates with many CBJ departments, including the Juneau Commission on Sustainability, related to energy use in CBJ buildings.

— Supported grants for six electric buses, the first of which is currently moving residents around town using clean, renewable energy.

— Provided shore power, 20 years ago, to the Franklin St. dock using an innovative approach.

The members of Renewable Juneau particularly appreciate that AEL&P:

— Helped form the nonprofit entity, Alaska Heat Smart, and that AEL&P’s Director of Energy Services sits on the board.

— Took the initiative to establish electric vehicle charging rates to encourage EV purchases in Juneau, and played a significant role in installing EV charging stations around town making EV transportation more accessible and viable.

— Identified two undeveloped hydropower resources at Sheep Creek and Lake Dorothy (Phase II) for Juneau that can help Juneau achieve the ambitious goals of the Juneau Renewable Energy Strategy.

We also encourage AEL&P to engage in new and continued efforts that will bring Juneau closer to its goal prior to 2045. Renewable Juneau is poised to work with AEL&P, CBJ, and the residents and businesses of Juneau to offer the following additional actions now, or soon:

— Offer incentives for residents and businesses to improve energy efficiency and convert space heating to heat pumps from both resistance and oil heating sources.

— Offer On-bill financing to Juneau customers to financially help ease their transition from fossil fuel systems to renewable energy systems.

— Support further development of shore power now so that all cruise ships can soon plug in while docked in downtown Juneau, thereby minimizing local air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

— Work with the CBJ to offer community engagement and planning sessions to ensure citizens are more knowledgeable and engaged in accomplishing the CBJ goal of 80 % renewable energy use.

— Support economic development by ensuring that cruise ships, local mines and future businesses have firm renewable power to operate in a clean and environmentally sound manner.

We thank AEL&P for being a good neighbor in Juneau and look forward to more opportunities to continue our partnership with them in providing Juneau with adequate and sustainable renewable energy supplies.

• John Neary is a 40-year resident of Juneau and a board member of Renewable Juneau, a non-profit that advocates for more use of renewable energy in Juneau. Columns, My Turns and Letters to the Editor represent the view of the author, not the view of the Juneau Empire. Have something to say? Here’s how to submit a My Turn or letter.

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