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GRETC Proposal
Greater Railbelt Energy and Transmission Corporation

GRETC WEBSITES:   Alaska Energy Authority  Chugach  ML&P  MEA  GVEA  HEA  Seward
RELATED:   Alaska Railbelt Energy Authority (JAA)    LEGISLATION STATUS    
4/15/10 Railbelt electric utilities need help from Legislature - JOE GRIFFITH - Anchorage Daily News - 
Much of the generation, transmission and distribution infrastructure is antiquated and must be expanded or enhanced to the tune of roughly $15 billion! 
4/5/10 Politics - Lawmakers tell electric utilities: No regulation? No way - Rena Delbridge - AlaskaDispatch -  
Chugach Consumers testimony on GRETC before the House Special Committee on Energy, Alaska Legislature
Chugach Consumers testimony on GRETC before the Regulatory Commission of Alaska.  Transcript (see p. 1-12) including questions from Commissioner Giard afterwards of Ray Kreig.  Heinze misleads the RCA later (p. 18+) on BC Hydro.  Jim Sykes later seems to have some issues with the cooperative model (page 33).   Mary Ann Pease points out that less regulation may be good but without a vibrant, competitive market where there are numerous competitive forces in play, it won't work (page 74).   
2/20/10 House ENERGY Committee Meeting Documents
2/20/10 Mat-Su Republican Party Convention resolution opposed to GRETC passed unanimously by 3 or 4 districts.
2/17/10 GRETC "Whitepaper" and "Talking Points"  
2/17/10 Electric unity for Railbelt utilities - Rena Delbridge - Alaska Dispatch - All six of the Railbelt's electric utilities are expected in Juneau next week to pledge unity in future transmission and generation projects -- but the proposal they'll say "I do" to is a much different one than Gov. Sarah Palin proposed a year ago.

A state report in December offered this grave assessment: The Railbelt needs to invest at least $10 billion over the next 50 years to keep the lights on. A big chunk will be needed soon, as 67 percent of the region's generation capacity will hit the end of its useful life within 15 years...

The boards of directors of five of the six utilities have signed off on a new draft bill that will reach lawmakers' desks late this week or early next, forming a corporation for transmission and generation. Chugach Electric Association board chairwoman Rebecca Logan said the utilities have forwarded their changes to Gov. Sean Parnell's administration, which is expected to file a fresh version before the Legislature within days... 

GVEA chief executive Brian Newton said the plan is a "first step" the utilities have to take in order to collaborate.

He and Balash acknowledged the utilities don't need the bill in order to work together, as evidenced by the Bradley Lake hydroelectric dam model. In that case, several utilities shared management of the project, which the Alaska Energy Authority owned.

Then why press this bill?

"That's what Palin wanted," Newton said. No one from the state's top office has urged a fresh direction. "This is just a continuation of what she started."

"Did we really need it," Newton said. "No ... Would we come together in the spirit of cooperation without this agreement? I would hope so. You could say it's a little more formalized."

An attorney for the Municipality of Anchorage -- where thousands of ratepayers live -- keyed in a couple potential problems that lawmakers may need to flesh out. Among those? There's little recourse for consumers with complaints.

"People need to be aware of the fact that there isn't sort of the direct ability for consumers to get at this entity and make their case and affect the outcome," attorney Dennis Wheeler said.

Consumers seeking recourse regarding rates could vote out electric co-operative board members, GVEA's Newton suggested.

"If nothing else, there is always litigation," he added.

2/10/10  MatSu Republicans resolution opposing GRETC 
Two conservatives debate GRETC!   Last Frontier Foundation Chair Penny Nixon and Chugach Electric board secretary Alex Gimarc slug it out [email exchange].   
2/7/10 Utilities and state revise GRETC bill - Revised bill to go to Legislature envisages private co-op to manage power generation and transmission in the Alaska Railbelt - Alan Bailey - Petroleum News
12/27/09 Energy Committee lays out draft bills - Policy bill includes energy efficiency; omnibus bill includes Energy Department to give cabinet-level focus to Alaska energy issues - Kristen Nelson - Petroleum News
12/20/09 Power for the future - AEA publishes draft integrated resource plan for Alaska Railbelt electricity - Alan Bailey - Petroleum News - The Alaska Energy Authority has published a draft regional integrated resource plan that presents options and recommendations for the future of electricity power generation, transmission and demand management in Alaska’s Railbelt.
12/17/09 Annotated GRETC Booklet with "text balloon" comments by former Alaska Public Utilities Commissioner Mark Foster.  
12/4/09 AEA:  Alaska RIRP Draft Report - The Regional Integrated Resource Plan (RIRP) is a 50-year, long-range plan that will identify combinations of generation and transmission (G&T) capital improvement projects in the Railbelt Region of Alaska - Black & Veatch for the Alaska Energy Authority.
11/22/09 Unifying the power grid - Plan for Alaska Railbelt power generation and transmission company takes shape - Alan Bailey - Petroleum News - The tight energy supply situation in Southcentral Alaska is reaching a point where some major decisions need to be made, given the increasing threat of a shortfall in the rate at which Cook Inlet natural gas can be delivered to utility customers, and given the age of both the power transmission network and the predominantly gas-fired power stations of the region.
11/13/09 Organizations express support for GRETC [Press Release] - Today three organizations that provide electric service in the Railbelt announced continued support for creation of an entity to meet the combined generation and transmission needs of customers in the region.  Leaders of Chugach Electric Association, Matanuska Electric Association and the City of Seward held a joint meeting today and moved forward in support of legislation to create the Greater Railbelt Energy and Transmission Corporation, or GRETC... 

The GRETC concept of a single Railbelt organization to provide generation and transmission services emerged from a study of how the region's grid works today and how it could best meet the needs of Alaskans in the future. The Railbelt Electrical Grid Authority study, completed in September 2008, was led by the Alaska Energy Authority with funding from the legislature. The REGA study identified an average annual present worth net savings of between $10.5 and $30.9 million which equates to between a 3.6% to 10.1% net savings for Railbelt consumers. In a related effort, the AEA is currently doing an integrated resource plan to determine how to meet the generation needs of the Railbelt for the next 50 years.
11/08/09 Presentation on GRETC at IAEE meeting - The Parnell administration’s legislative proposal to form one integrated and unified private Railbelt power company for Alaska, the Greater Railbelt Energy and Transmission Company, will be presented by Jim Strandberg, project manager with the Alaska Energy Authority, at the Anchorage Chapter of the International Association for Energy Economics, on Nov. 9 at noon at the BP Energy Center.  Contact Jennifer Duval at 269-1025 or for information.  [announcement only]
11/1/09 Renewables, conservation in draft plan - Alaska legislators looking at energy efficiency, state goals, more money for various plans in review of state’s energy situation - Kristen Nelson - Petroleum News - Members of the Alaska Senate energy policy group have taken a wide-ranging look at the state’s energy situation and in a draft released Oct. 19 have proposed a variety of approaches to deal with everything from energy-efficient buildings to incentives for more oil and gas exploration, some of which the Legislature could promote with funding and some of which it could encourage with legislation... 

The report recommends consolidating the six existing Railbelt utilities into a single entity for purposes of planning, financing and building future electrical generation and transmission projects with maximum efficiency, and calls for amending Senate Bill 143, “An Act establishing the Greater Railbelt Energy and Transmission Corporation,” and passing a revised bill. 

A regional integrated resource plan is being developed for the Railbelt with a draft report due in November; legislative hearings are proposed in January to review the findings and make recommendations. 

4/7/09 One electric corporation to rule them all - Gov. Palin's Greater Railbelt Energy and Transmission Corporation - Alaska Conservation Voters Conservation Watch - One of the more significant pieces of energy legislation being considered this year is SB 143 and HB 182 targeted at uniting the six Railbelt utilities into the Greater Railbelt Energy and Transmission Corporation (GRETC).   Based on a finding in the Alaska Energy Authority's Railbelt Electrical Grid Authority study, the Palin Administration is proposing a unified a Corporation aimed at ensuring adequate electricity generation and transmission assets to meet customer demand at the lowest feasible cost.
3/22/09 Governor’s bill would unite 6 Alaska utilities - Proposal would have utilities buy wholesale power through state corporation; bill calls for plan to Legislature next January - Dan Joling - Associated Press - The six utilities that serve most Alaskans would buy wholesale power through a new state corporation under a bill sent to the Legislature March 6 by Gov. Sarah Palin.  Palin announced a statewide energy plan in January and said a single entity is needed to plan, finance and build future power plants within Alaska’s Railbelt, named for areas touched by tracks of the Alaska Railroad and covering about 65 percent of the population, to take advantage of economies of scale.
3/18/09 Governor pushes for the Greater Railbelt Energy and Transmission Corporation - Alex Gimarc
9/12/08 ALASKA RAILBELT ELECTRICAL GRID AUTHORITY (REGA) Study - Final Report - Black & Veatch for the Alaska Energy Authority.
3/7/07 Resignation of CEA Renewable Energy Committee Chairman Bruce Campbell:  Letter  Appendices:  1-2006 Energy Forum   2-Other  Campbell is a former Alaska State Highway Commissioner and Commissioner of DOT.  "The Fire Island wind plan, which will feed small amounts of power into the system, has all the earmarks of an economic disaster from the member's viewpoint."
7/27/05 JAA:  Chugach Electric board passes motion to withdraw from the Alaska Railbelt Grid Authority (AREA) effective if promised federal tax exempt financing status does not materialize.  The letter of withdrawal was finalized on 1/26/06. 
4/17/05 Utilities struggle over plan to unite - Tim Bradner - Alaska Journal of Commerce - $1 billion to $2 billion in new generation   
2004 Railbelt Energy Study - R.W. Beck and Ater Wynne and the objective of the study was to identify the combination of generation and transmission capital investments in the Railbelt region over a 30-year period (2004-2033) that would: 1) minimize future power supply costs, and 2) maintain current levels of power supply reliability. In this study, R.W. Beck/Ater Wynne identified alternative generation and transmission investment plans taking into account uncertainties regarding future loads, fuel prices, and resource options, assuming that the six Railbelt utilities act collectively. Results were shown for:  1) retirements, 2) reliability, 3) load-resource balances, 4) base case investment strategies, 5) effects of risk aversion on investment decisions, and 6) analysis of unique investment opportunities and sensitivity cases.  [Cost over $800,000]  Summary findings 
10/98 Power Pooling/Central Dispatch Planning Study - Black & Veatch and was prepared for for the Alaska Public Utilities Commission (APUC), which has since become the Regulatory Commission of Alaska (RCA), under contract with the Alaska Electric Generation and Transmission Cooperative, Inc. (AEG&T). In that study, Black & Veatch analyzed the potential benefits of a power pool with central dispatch among the Railbelt utilities. Black & Veatch evaluated the following three expansion cases: 1) the Individual Case, 2) the Pooled Case, and 3) the Joint Case. The Individual Case assumed that the status quo was maintained. The Pooled Case assumed that each utility would continue to meet its own capacity requirements, but that all of the regional generation assets would be centrally dispatched. The Joint Case assumed that the utilities jointly met capacity requirements and jointly dispatch all regional generation assets as if they were one utility.

The results of this study showed production and capital cost-related savings of $30.0 million over the 20-year planning horizon of the study, or 2.1%, for the Pooled Case relative to the Individual Case on a cumulative present worth (CPW) basis. For the Joint Case, the study showed CPW production and capital cost-related savings of $48.1 million, or 3.4%, relative to the Individual Case.  When the costs associated with the formation and operation of a “Railbelt Utility Operator,” including equipment and staffing, were considered the net savings were reduced for the Pooled Case to $6.6 million, or 0.5%, and for the Joint Case to $24.7 million, or 1.7%.


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