power pooling
Alaska. Anchorage at sunset. City is backdropped by the Chugach Mountains, with the Cook Inlet in foreground. winter. Aerial

Three of Alaska’s Railbelt electric utilities have signed a power pooling agreement, allowing them to buy and sell power when it's more economic than generating their ownThe Power Pooling and Joint Dispatch Agreement, signed by Chugach Electric Association (Chugach), Municipal Light & Power (ML&P), the Municipality of Anchorage (MOA) and Matanuska Electric Association (MEA), was filed with the Regulatory Commission of Alaska (RCA) on Monday.

According to a release, the signing of the agreement solidifies work of the utilities on a power market. Running the most efficient units first, regardless of location or ownership, the utilities estimate the arrangement will jointly save $12 million to $16 million a year in fuel, operations and maintenance costs, and will reduce CO2 emissions by 90,000 to 120,000 tons per year. [Alaska prepares for smart meter installations]

The utilities noted that apart from the reduced cost of power and reduced CO2 emissions, power pooling and economic dispatch of power will also reduce natural gas usage.

“Working together to provide power to our customers in the most efficient, cost-effective manner means lower costs and improved reliability for everyone,” said Lee Thibert, Chugach CEO. “This agreement represents a lot of hard work and cooperation on behalf of thousands of Alaska electric customers, and I want to thank everyone involved for the great work done.”

Power pooling

“We are pleased to see our recent utility cooperation expanded into a more formalised agreement that can reduce costs for our members,” said Tony Izzo, CEO, Matanuska Electric Association. “The Railbelt’s new, more efficient generation suite brings significant opportunity for savings when we work together and we look forward to this new era of collaboration.”

“The work of the utilities serving Anchorage demonstrates what collaborative effort can achieve and builds on our cooperative work to provide reliable, cost-effective electric service for businesses and families,” said ML&P General Manager Mark Johnston.

The Power Pooling and Joint Dispatch Agreement is the framework for a commitment to jointly dispatch and share in the benefits of power pooling.

Tilbert added, “I can’t give an absolute number, but if all costs stay the same, a customer with Chugach is probably looking at about a 2 percent reduction with the $4 million reduction in fuel costs.

“I think we’ll see within the next couple of months after we get this started, we’ll see an immediate reduction in fuel costs going through.”

 

Image credit: www.alaskaseoexpert.com