Gov. Dunleavy signs bill permanently extending Alaska’s renewable energy grant fund
Gov. Mike Dunleavy closed Alaska’s second annual sustainable energy conference on Thursday by signing legislation that permanently establishes the state’s renewable energy grant fund.
The Alaska Legislature passed House Bill 62, from Rep. Bryce Edgmon, I-Dillingham, by a combined 53-1 margin this spring, with six lawmakers not voting.
The grant fund was established in 2008 and has been irregularly funded by the Legislature since then, distributing a combined total of more than $300 million over 15 years.
“I think of it as the little train that could, because it’s a program that doesn’t get headline status, but in those 15 years, it’s worked to create over 100 operating projects, and there’s 44 more in the pipeline,” Edgmon said during Thursday’s signing ceremony.
State law included an expiration date for the program, and HB 62 erases that date, keeping it on the books permanently.
Curtis Thayer, director of the Alaska Energy Authority, called the fund “a catalyst” for renewable energy projects in Alaska, and Dunleavy said he has “a lot of faith in innovation and a lot of faith in where we’re going.”