Did you know the Clean Power Plan only applies currently to the lower 48 states in the U.S.?
It’s true. Since Alaska and Hawaii are disconnected from the country’s main energy grids, the two states are being separated from the rest.
And both states need further examination of their individual electrical grid setups before the EPA can impose any regulations or set any emissions goals. However, the two states do not need to wait until then to begin working for cleaner power.
Alaska has already been working to tap into its massive natural gas reserves. Overall, the state holds an estimated 35 trillion cubic feet in reserves, which amounts to roughly one and one-half of the United States’ total output in 2013.
In the past, these reserves have gone untouched; there simply isn’t enough established infrastructure to transport the gas through pipelines or via commercial vessels as a liquid, and building these things will take a lot of investment and several years to complete.
Meanwhile, Alaska would like to use some of that supply to transition itself from its current diesel power to cleaner, more affordable natural gas.
Now, the state runs on about 300 electric micro-grids powered by diesel fuel. This is in contrast to the larger grids found in many of the lower 48 states, and is part of the reason why the EPA needs more time to add Alaska to the CPP.
Alaskan Governor Bill Walker intends to bring this issue up in September when President Obama visits the state for several days for an international Arctic policy and climate change conference.
“We have more natural gas than any state, or any country around the world. Now we’re working on… ways to take it to market,” Walker says.
No state is required to begin working towards the CPP’s set goals until after 2018 when the last of the plans are due from each state. However, even in its position being exempt from the plan for now, it seems Alaska is more than ready to get a head start.
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Until next time,
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