Alaska has adopted legislation aiming to generate half of its electricity from renewable sources by 2025.
The state’s Governor, Sean Parnell, signed a bill into law that will set one of the highest targets for renewable power among any of the US states, surpassing California’s 33% goal and Hawaii’s 40% goal.
House Bill 306 is expected to see most of Alaska’s renewable energy target achieved through hydroelectric projects.
The new law sets in place an energy policy that the Governor said would guide lawmakers, regulators, utilities, conservation groups and ordinary Alaskans in moving toward “more affordable, abundant, and reliable energy”.
However, the detail on how the new 50% target will be achieved is yet to be drawn up.
Governor Parnell said: “The policy encourages coordination of government functions and streamlines regulatory processes across all levels of government. Good energy policy opens doors and promotes responsible, sustainable development.
“It offers hope and lightens the burden for those whose energy bills skyrocket in the winter and remain costly in the warmer summer months,” added Gov Parnell.
Gov Parnell also signed a Senate Bill (SB 220) which creates a financing system for energy efficiency projects involving $250 million of bonds.
The Alaska Housing and Finance Corporation will run the scheme to fund improvements to public buildings including schools, government buildings and the University of Alaska system.
State buildings will have their energy efficiency evaluated and starting with the most inefficient, improvement projects will be scheduled for completion by 2020.
The new laws also set up an Emerging Energy Technology Fund to provide grants for demonstration projects of technology expected to be commercially viable within five years.
Earlier this month, Alaska adopted new laws cutting the costs for developing geothermal power projects and slashing red tape for renewable energy projects if they sell power to regulated utilities.