Alaska’s Next Energy Battlefield: Renewable Portfolio Standards

Alaska’s Next Energy Battlefield: Renewable Portfolio Standards

March 24, 2023

With the Biden Administration now having gone nearly two weeks without an administrative or executive order hurting one of Alaska’s resource development opportunities, it gives everyone a chance to take a deep breath and re-focus.

For renewable energy zealots – you know, the misguided souls who believe ‘green’ energy solutions can be made cost-effectively, and somehow, will work all the time instead of intermittently – 2023 is the year to throw down their gauntlet, make demands and force their desired outcomes on the state.

They’ve found willing legislators in the Alaska House and Senate to be their patsies and introduce “Renewable Portfolio Standard” (RPS) bills this session.  RPS would mandate a certain percentage of a utility’s power come from ‘green’ energy sources by a certain date.  With this legislation, it is 80% power by 2040.

Organizations like REAP (Renewable Energy Alaska Project) and the Alaska Center (for the Environment and every other liberal cause-de-jour) have touted RPS as ‘must-pass’ legislation this session. Those groups, along with the legislation’s supporters, have refused to acknowledge the three biggest problems with RPS:

  • Nothing about RPS is free-market.  Mandating a certain outcome by a certain date drives an artificial market adjustment; overriding consumer choice and the ability of the  market to choose ‘winners’ and ‘losers’.
  • Nothing about RPS is ready to be implemented today. Wind, solar and other ‘green’ solutions aren’t ready to scale, there isn’t a storage solution for their energy that is practical, and the utilities themselves would need transmission upgrades that would bankrupt their co-op budgets (hence, the need for subsidies and state aid, which goes back to artificial market adjustments in the previous point).
  • Nothing about RPS makes sense, unless you’re concerned with a made-up ‘climate crisis’ and willing to take drastic steps to support the narrative.  With well over 200 trillion cubic feet of natural gas available on Alaska’s North Slope, the better use of state and utility funds would be to work with the Alaska Gasline Development Corporation and build the pipeline that would feed not only the population centers of the state, but an terminal for LNG exports. 

Ultimately, the 60 members of the Legislature will decide the fate of RPS.  Let’s hope – for Alaska’s sake – they listen to reason and not REAP and friends.