Alaska Energy Authority (AEA) promotes energy conservation in Alaska through several programs. As an equal participant in the State Energy Program (SEP), AEA is able to offer small technical assistance grants that help communities get a handle on supply and demand side management and seek funding for implementation. AEA promoted the Village End Use Efficiency Measures Program (VEUEM) and is seeking to implement the Alaska Energy Efficiency Program and Policy Recommendations for the future of their end use programs.
Alaska Rural Energy Plan
The Alaska Rural Energy Plan published in 2004 by AEA identified and widespread opportunities for reducing costs of power and heat. After a preliminary screening analysis that identified end-use efficiencies as a potential source of economic benefits for rural households, Section 4 of the 2004 Alaska Rural Energy Plan examined end-use energy efficiency in rural Alaska households and rural schools in communities that are eligible for Power Cost Equalization (PCE) Funding. The objective of the study was “to evaluate the costs and benefits of end-use energy efficiency systems that are suitable for rural Alaska and determine the extent to which these systems could potentially reduce the cost or improve the reliability of electricity for rural communities” and, to review program implementation alternatives with the goal of maximizing program effectiveness.
Thereby the study distinguished between the engineering economic potential (avoided cost if adopted) and market potential (estimate of participants) of end-use energy efficiency measures. The study makes this distinction to account for the fact that despite extremely favorable engineering economics, customers may not purchase the most economic alternative.
The Alaska Rural Energy Plan also addresses some utilities concern that “in low or no-growth markets with adequate generation capacity, a large investment in energy efficient light bulbs may have adverse effects by noticeably reducing demand and causing generating plants to operate lower on their fuel efficiency performance curve”.
As an example, an annual $224 savings per household in rural Alaska could be achieved by switching to fluorescents light bulbs, assuming seven incandescent bulbs that would be replaced with small compact fluorescents.
Village End-Use Energy Efficiency Program
Community impact is exactly what Alaska Energy Authority (AEA) is considering when coming up with the Village End-Use Efficiency Measures (VEUEM) program. Communities are selected based on recently having received or being about to receive a Rural Power System Upgrade (RPSU) or other energy infrastructure project. The intent is to reduce usage and properly size new power systems. This covers both demand and supply side issues.
The village end-use energy efficiency program performs energy efficiency upgrades on rural Alaskan community buildings. AEA, with funding from the Denali Commission, works with villages to help them achieve energy savings by replacing or installing energy-efficient lighting, switch boxes, motion sensors, set back thermostats, weather stripping, and low mass boilers.
The program helps communities to achieve significant progress toward energy efficiency. In Phase I, the average grant fund per village was $37,771 with a total program grant fund of $642,116. Significant in-kind contributions from the local school districts helped expand the reach of this program.
The graphic on the left provides a community overview of finished (Phase I, blue) and ongoing (Phase II & III, black & red) projects. Additional communities will be included in the program if funding becomes available.