Energy Policy

One of Renewable Juneau’s goals is to help the community understand and influence the public and private policies that shape our access to, and use of, renewable energy.
Below you’ll find the main policy areas that we’re involved in.  Please feel free to contact us for more information about any of these topics or even better, let us know if you may be able to volunteer to help work on them.

Juneau Renewable Energy Strategy

Renewable Juneau is strongly focused on the CBJ’s Juneau Renewable Energy Strategy (JRES), which was developed over the last few years by the Juneau Commission on Sustainability and adopted by the CBJ Assembly in 2018. Renewable Juneau helped organize public support for development and adoption of the Strategy.  One approach was to organize “80 for 80% Clean Energy Supporters”, a collection of Juneau businesses and organizations that signed on in support of the Strategy as it came before the Assembly.  Juneau proved to be on board and we were able to submit a list of more than 100 supportive local businesses.

The CBJ Energy Strategy outlines a strong goal of shifting Juneau from its currant 20% reliance on renewable energy to 80% renewable energy by 2045.  We’re working to push for implementation of its recommendations in four areas:

1. Transportation. Developing action plans and implementing measures to help shift community-wide transportation (including cars, buses, trucks, dock electrification) toward renewable energy sources through land use policies, community incentives, grants, and passenger head tax fees. 

2. Heating. Developing action plans and implementing measures to help reduce dependence on fossil fuels for heating, while increasing housing affordability, by improving energy efficiency in buildings and increasing adoption of heat pumps. 

3. Develop and implement a CBJ energy management program. This will ensure that public funds are used effectively to meet community goals of cost savings, energy efficiency, support for renewable energy, and GHG emission reductions.

4. New renewable energy supplies for Juneau. We’re tracking the potential for wind, solar and tidal energy, as well as potential new hydroelectric supplies such as AEL&P’s Lake Dorothy Phase 2 and Juneau Hydropower’s Sweetheart Lake.

We’re delighted to report that at its December 2018 annual retreat, the CBJ Assembly identified sustainability and implementation of the JRES a priority for 2019.

Other local climate and Energy Policy

Blueprint Downtown
Currently ongoing, Blueprint Downtown is a planning effort of the City and Borough of Juneau’s Community Development Department. The mission of Blueprint Downtown is to create a long-term area plan for downtown Juneau area that reflects current public desires and incorporates past work from relevant existing plans. MRV Architects and Sheinberg Associates have been hosting community meetings and other events aimed at drafting a vision for the downtown area plan. You can read the results from their most recent meeting here. All input is welcome and to date, interest has been expressed in issues ranging from the implementation of electric circulator buses, to additional services for homeless and completion of the seawalk. It is our hope that greater attention is paid to the possible electrification of docked cruise ships as well as the electrification of tourist transportation.

HB 374
Passed during the last 2017-2018 legislative session, HB374 allows utilities or gas companies “to finance the purchase and installation of a renewable energy system, energy efficiency device, or energy conservation system” that a property owner or tenant pays back on their utility bill over time. While optional for a utility to implement, this measure allows a home or building owner to convert their heating system to an energy efficient heat pump system and slowly pay off the cost of the conversion via their monthly utility bill. One beneficial aspect of ‘on-bill financing’ is that the payments stay with the utility bill, in essence removing any concerns of cost recovery and pay back period. More information about on-bill financing can be found here. And here. It is yet unclear whether or not a Juneau utility will embrace this powerful financing mechanism.

Juneau Climate Action and Implementation Plan
The CBJ has adopted additional important energy-related plans and policies, including the Comprehensive Plan and the Juneau Climate Action and Implementation Plan (2011), which was a precursor to the Renewable Energy Strategy.  Here’s a link to the Climate Plan.

(Alaska Electric Light & Power) is Juneau’s electric utility. They have provided Juneau with electricity from renewable hydroelectricity for 125 years. AELP is a key partner for Juneau in meeting the community goal of shifting transportation and heating away from fossil fuels to electricity.

The purchase of AEL&P by AVISTA, and the attempted purchase of AVISTA by the Canadian corporation Hydro One, have been the focus of considerable attention by Renewable Juneau over the past two years. Here’s a summary of our involvement.

statewide climate Energy Policy

Governor’s Climate Action Leadership Team (CALT)
The State of Alaska, at the end of the Walker administration, was working on a Climate Change Action Plan, which included recommendations dealing with energy efficiency and renewable energy, among other topics. One of incoming governor Dunleavy’s first very telling moves upon taking office was to take down the CALT website. Luckily, much of its information is available here thanks to the Alaska Climate Action Network.

Federal climate Energy Policy related issues

Mendenhall Glacier Recreation Area Planning
A wide range of federal plans and policies affect renewable energy both in Alaska and in Juneau. The Mendenhall Glacier Recreation Area/Visitor Center planning process is an ongoing effort that we’ve engaged in and are staying abreast of.

Visit our Additional Resources page to learn more about the various statewide non-profit groups that we partner with on policy issues. Our resources page also provides links to other informative climate change and renewable energy sites and news sources.