A rule was just signed by the White House that gives agricultural Alaska immunity from emissions regulations on diesel generators. The proposal, which is called the “Alaska Remote Generator Reliability and Protection Act”, could see a decrease in the emissions from the diesel generators. This is because the former rules made it hard to buy diesel generators that were cost-prohibitive. U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan (R-AK) and Alaska Congressman Don Young (R-AK), along with co-sponsor Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) introduced the bill into legislation.
Now, under this bill, agricultural areas will be allowed to install diesel engines that burn cleaner. They will be more fuel-efficient, so, therefore, rural ratepayers will not see an increase in cost. And emissions will be reduced in village power plants.
The former bill stated that diesel generators that were just installed were mandated to have a Diesel Particulate Filter. This allowed the generator’s cost to be up to 50% more with a greater chance of being less reliable. The marine industry was quick to find this out and has since gotten an exemption for it.
If any Alaskan villages have generators within schoolhouses, hospitals, and water plants, and they completely congeal up, then the runaway lights will not work. This means that the safety of all humans in this area is put at risk Dave Messier, the rural energy coordinator for Tanana Chiefs Conference stated.
Messier went on to say that the community of Nikolai paid $4,000 a few years ago to have technicians flown in so that error codes could be read. This only took half an hour. Then on top of this, they paid for improvements to be made.
U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan says he wants to thank the White House signing the bill. He went on to say that the law will benefit many Alaskans warm their houses reliably and power them as well with the swiftly advancing wintertime season. Sullivan also said that before the bill went into effect, the state was separated from the power grid.
Congressman Don Young’s agency noted in a press release close to 100% of the electricity that the village use was supplied by diesel generators. Current regulations maintain specific emissions controls that could make it hard to work in remote areas of the state.
The bill states that EPA would be mandated to report to congress about options for the federal government so they can assist in these remote places in Alaska. The state would work with residents to help with their energy requirements so they were not only reliable but also affordable. Currently, the prices in the Arctic Village are $1/kWh. This is five times more than what Anchorage pays.
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Picture Credit: David Everett Strickler