Federal Agency Halts Proposed 'Hybrid Energy' Project, Citing Company's Qualifications

Jun 13, 2019

A federal agency has put a proposed Fairbanks-area renewable-energy project on hold.

The Federal Regulatory Energy Commission, or FERC, last week withdrew its authorization of a proposal by a Colorado-based renewable-energy company to develop a so-called “hybrid energy” electrical-generating system around Fairbanks and outlying areas.

A diagram in Eco Green's proposal shows how the propane-fired combined heat and power generators would produce heat for nearby public buildings as well as electricity that would be uploaded onto the Golden Valley grid.
Credit Eco Green Generation

The system proposed by Eco Green Generation manager Bill Rhodes, who's partnered with Fairbanks wind-energy entrepreneur Mike Craft, managing partner of Alaska Environmental Power. It would combine wind power, battery storage and backup generators to supply up to 100 megawatts to Golden Valley Electric Association.

But FERC revoked Eco Green’s designation as a qualified facility, or QF, on June 5. An order issued that day by the agency stated the proposed project does not meet the requirements for a QF status under the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978, a federal law governing public utility regulation.

Rhodes said in an e-mail to KUAC that FERC told him the agency revoked the company’s QF status because the proposal was unlike any the agency had dealt with before. He believes that played a role in their decision, and he hopes the agency will hold a hearing on the project within the next 30 days so he can address concerns over the proposal. 

According to a news release posted Tuesday by Golden Valley Electric Association, utility President and CEO Cory Borgeson says the commission’s decision vindicates the utility officials’ concerns about Eco Green’s project and its qualifying facility status.

The news release says Golden Valley officials are concerned about the financial burden to its members of analyzing the proposal and responding to it, as required by the federal law. “Responding to this proposal cost the co-op hundreds of hours of staff time and costs resulting in excess of hundreds of thousands of dollars,” Borgeson said.

The release says Golden Valley plans to ask energy regulators with the Regulatory Commission of Alaska to order Eco Green to obtain FERC certification before the utility does any more work on a tariff filing for the project that's required by state law.