Governor signs renewable energy regulation bill

Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell signed Senate Bill 277 into law on June 2 at Kincaid Park Chalet. The bill removed a redundant layer of regulatory oversight from power generation facilities that generate electricity entirely from renewable energy sources and sell it to regulated utilities. This category includes the wind farm that CIRI subsidiary Fire Island Wind LLC (FIW) is building on Fire Island.

The Regulatory Commission of Alaska (RCA) regulates pricing when producers sell power to utilities. As an independent power producer that is not also a utility (a first for Alaska), FIW also would have been subjected to an additional review by the RCA in the power generation process. Senate Bill 277 removes this redundancy without interfering with the RCA’s full regulation of power pricing at the utility level. The public is still protected by the RCA from illegitimate price inflation, while independent power production from renewable energy resources such as Fire Island are freed from an unnecessary bureaucratic hurdle.

The project will consist of 33 GE XLE 1.6-megawatt turbines and will generate approximately 46,000 megawatt hours of electricity annually, enough power to meet the needs of 18,000 Southcentral Alaska homes. FIW plans to start construction of project infrastructure in 2010, with the project potentially generating power by 2012.