In May 2008, Alaska enacted legislation authorizing the creation of a renewable energy grant fund. The legislation recommended that the program be administered by the Alaska Energy Authority (AEA). The grant program is intended to provide assistance to utilities, independent power producers, local governments, and tribal governments for feasibility studies, reconnaissance studies, energy resource monitoring, and work related to the design and construction of eligible facilities. In order to be eligible for a grant, a project must be located within Alaska. The list of eligible technologies includes solar, wind, geothermal, hydrothermal, certain types of biomass, biogas, wave, tidal, waste heat utilization, river in-stream power, and hydropower. Also eligible are fuel cells that use hydrogen generated from an eligible renewable resource or natural gas; certain natural gas projects located in small communities; and, electricity or natural gas transmission and distribution infrastructure projects that link an eligible project to related infrastructure.
The AEA will not actually approve projects; it will issue recommendations to the state legislature, which will make funding decisions. There is usually one round of funding per fiscal year, with the first solicitation taking place in September 2008. Funding for Round III, FY2011, was slightly lower than the $50 million anticipated by the legislature; funding for FY2011 was $25 million. The Round IV application period opened July 21, 2010 and closed on Sept. 15, 2010. Solicitations accepted during one fiscal year are funded in the following fiscal year. Although there are no firm limits on grant amounts or minimum applicant contributions, applications with matching funds will be looked upon favorably.
HB 250 (2012) states an intention to provide $50 million in funding for each of the 10 fiscal years until the program expires on June 30, 2023. The original enabling legislation stated an intention to provide $50 million in funding annually to the program for five years, but $125 million was appropriated for Rounds I and II of funding - the FY 2009 program. The initial allocation plan recommends that 20% of the funding go to reconnaissance, feasibility and resource studies, and the remaining 80% be awarded to final design, permitting and construction projects.
See the program web site for additional details, including information on funding and eligibility questions.