What policies are the best fit to incentivize a rapid and fair renewable energy transition in Alaska?

Renewable Energy 101 overview of RE incentives around the world 

Why Democratic Energy Offers Faster Approach to Clean Energy.

Burke, M. and Stephens, J.  Energy Democracy: Goals and policy instruments for sociotechnical transitions.  Energy Research and Social Science, Volume 33, November 2017.  Reviews best practice policy incentives to ensure a fair and just energy transition, including: net metering and virtual net metering, feed-in tariffs, renewable energy standards, community choice aggregation,  revolving loan funds, public bonds, on-bill financing and repayment programs, carbon tax-and-invest, cap and dividend, cooperative financing, renewable energy cooperatives and other renewable energy policy mechanisms Alaska can tap to maximize the distribution of clean energy benefits. 

Net-metering Basics

What is net-metering? 

According to SEIA, net-metering allows residential and commercial customers who generate their own electricity from solar power to feed electricity they do not use back into the grid. Many states, including Alaska, have passed net metering laws. In other states, utilities may offer net metering programs voluntarily or as a result of regulatory decisions.  Benefits of net metering vary widely from state to state. 

In October 2009, the Regulatory Commission of Alaska (RCA) approved net metering regulations. These rules were finalized and approved by the lieutenant governor in January 2010 and became effective January 15, 2010. All electric utilities subject to economic regulation are required to offer net metering. Independent systems with retail sales of less than 5,000,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) are exempt from offering net metering. Utilities that generate 100% of electricity from certain approved renewable energy sources and other sources approved by the RCA that have a low environmental impact are also exempt.

With these regulations, renewable energy systems with a capacity up to 25 kilowatts (kW) are eligible for net metering. Overall enrollment is limited to 1.5% of a utility's retail sales from the previous year. Utilities may require additional metering equipment, but the utilities are responsible for all costs associated with installing and maintaining this additional equipment.

Net excess generation is reconciled monthly, with the utility crediting the customer-generator's account for the excess kWh generation multiplied by the "non-firm power rate." These dollar amount credits do not expire and can be applied to subsequent monthly bills. Utilities cannot charge customer-generators additional standby, capacity, interconnection, or other charges unless approved by the RCA.

Policy Links:
Alaska's net-metering policy
Principles for the Evolution of Net Energy Metering and Rate Design

Feed-in Tariff Basics

What is a feed-in-tariff?

Feed-in Tariffs are considered by many to be a far more robust incentive than net-metering, however they are generally resisted by utilities. 

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