TCC has been leading the fight for Regulatory Relief over the Diesel-fired Generator Sets that keep our village lights on year round.
In the Interior nearly 100% of the electricity used in our villages is supplied by imported Diesel-Fuel. Many of our villages rely on diesel generators that are between 10 and 30 years old, but these systems do not last forever and many small utilities are looking for ways they can purchase new generator sets to improve efficiency and reduce the maintenance costs of worn out engines.
Under a recent EPA ruling, all new generator sets installed in Rural areas of Alaska that are not connected to the federal highway system must install Diesel Particulate Filters (DPF) on their new engines. Not only does a DPF decrease the reliability of these engines, it also decreases the fuel efficiency, increases maintenance requirements and nearly doubles the cost of a new engine. All of this will lead to increased electric rates for our tribal members, schools and elders.
After extensive lobbying, the marine industry was able to avoid the restrictions specifically because DPF systems are expensive and unreliable. Rural Alaska however did not receive this same type of exemption. Under the new administration TCC lobbyists and staff are working with inter-tribal organizations from around the state and our congressional delegation to argue for a change in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 60.4216.
This change will increase reliability, help reduce costs and keep the lights on across Rural Alaska and the interior for years to come. In early May 2017, TCC staff attended the National Tribal Energy Summit in Washington DC and explained the issues to staff with Senator’s Sullivan and Murkowski as well as Representative Don Young’s office. Currently the only solution for rural utilities who want to purchase a new-generator set and stay within the confines of the EPA regulations is to purchase a used engine that was manufactured prior to MY 2014.
For the past few years communities requiring new generator sets have been doing this but we are requesting regulatory relief now with the knowledge that these older generator sets will be much more difficult to find in the future. If your community would like to help TCC advocate on behalf of eliminating these regulations please contact staff from our legislative delegations offices and ask them to review CFR 60.4216 and work on behalf of Rural Alaska to help us keep their lights on!
Article By; Dave Pelunis-Messier