With the oil shock of the late 2000’s around the time of the financial crisis we saw how a bubble in one part of the economy could compound adjustment effects from energy resource constraints. The markets were already in flux and constricting with raised prices, and then market manipulation from the housing market hit. Getting back up to $150/barrel of oil would be a shock for many nation’s fragile economies, yet the market often finds substitutes quickly, or pushes sluggish innovation along to get new product at a cheaper price (for energy) so that it is ‘shelf ready’ for industrial use, if not also residential. For Alaska, it may be further research and development into new styles of wood use for heat processing!
With a request for the Regulatory Commission of Alaska to review operation reliability standards Doyon is asking them to review toward promoting open access. Chugach’s CEO stated, “We want to provide reliability and a standard for interconnected grid operations, while incorporating non-discriminatory open access.” It has been estimated that 3/4 of the state’s power is generated in the Railbelt region. The Intertie Management Committee who oversees the operation include: Alaska Energy Authority (statewide), Chugach Electric Association (Anchorage area), Golden Valley Electric Association (Fairbanks area), Matanuska Electric Association (MatSu Valley area) and Municipal Light & Power (Downtown Anchorage). The state-owned Alaska Intertie is a 170-mile, 345 kilovolt transmission line between Willow and Healy, Alaska. It also services the communities of Talkeetna, Trapper’s Creek, Cantwell and Denali National Park.
This will be a move to help reliability as well as diversity of vendors. Good news it is!
By Friday the Regulatory Commission of Alaska will rule whether a private company or municipal utility will be granted permission to create a natural gas distribution system beyond downtown. Folks are keeping an eye open to see whether the RCA has conditions for tracking and then forcing promises filled by the ‘winning party’. Thus far, Fairbanks Natural Gas and Golden Valley Electric have been two big known named firms connected with the trucking project. Gas to Fairbanks- It’s been a half century effort by various groups in the Interior.
There have been two editorial pieces in the Fairbanks Daily News from the owner of a wind farm in Delta Junction responding to the current lead at GVEA. Both pieces underscore the efforts to put large amounts of wind power onto the GVEA grid at a competitive price, as well as supplemental oil fired generation that would be needed to compensate for the variable amounts of electricity the wind turbines would put onto the overall grid. There is disagreement as to the cost burden for the supplemental generator located at North Pole and who should cover it- the (wind) energy producer, or the utility. There are bound to be more public discussions as the case is on the way to be reviewed by the Regulatory Commission of Alaska. Time will tell….
Ahtna Native corporation is looking into natural gas development to make the immediate (Copper River Valley) area more liveable as opposed to commercializing its resources specifically as an export commodity. You can read up on it at: http://www.newsminer.com/news/alaska_news/ahtna-plans-natural-gas-wells-for-communities/article_14f97256-57b0-11e3-bff6-001a4bcf6878.html. Natural gas is available, and in this case it may be shipped 100 miles each way to Delta Junction or Valdez to change its form for easier transport. Economic development often looks at energy extraction as the ability to get others to buy it to get cash, yet it may be more equitable for the region if they are given somewhat of a ‘energy holiday’ by not having to pay so much on the whole by importing expensive commodities themselves (such as oil). Hoping it works!