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Regulatory and Permitting Information Desktop Toolkit

Alaska Hydropower Facilility Licensing, Certification, Safety, & Regulation(7-AK)

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Determine Which State and Federal Permits Apply

Use this overview flowchart and following steps to learn which federal and state permits apply to your projects.

Permitting at a Glance

Alaska Federal

Certificate of Public Good/Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (Certificate): A public utility may need to obtain a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) from the Regulatory Commission of Alaska before commencing with utility operations and receiving compensation for providing services to customers. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has jurisdiction over most hydroelectric projects, including primary transmission lines required for the project. However, a developer may need to obtain a CPCN from the Commission for transmission line extension projects.
Certificate Regulatory Agency: Regulatory Commission of Alaska
Certificate Threshold: Any public utilty before commencing with utility operations or receiving compensation for providing services to customers must obtain a CPCN.
Public Utility/Electric Plant definition for Certificate: A "public utility" or "utility" includes every corporation whether public, cooperative, or otherwise, company, individual, or association of individuals, their lessees, trustees, or receivers appointed by the court, that owns, operates, manages, or controls any plant, pipeline, or system for furnishing, by generation, transmission, or distribution, electrical service to the public for compensation. [1]
Certificate Exemptions: A plant or facility that generates electricity entirely from renewable energy resources (i.e., wind, solar, geothermal, wasteheat recovery, hydrothermal, wave, tidal, river in-stream, or hydropower) is exempt from regulation if:
  • The plant or facility is first placed into commercial operation on or after the effective date of this subsection and before January 1, 2016 and does not generate more than 65 megawatts of electricity;
  • The electricity generated by the plant or facility is sold only to one or more electric utilities that are regulated by the Commission; and
  • The person that constructs, owns, acquires, or operates the plant or facility has not received from the state: (i) a grant that was used to generate the electricity from the renewable energy resources; or (ii) a tax credit related to the generation of electricity from the renewable energy resources.

The Commission may also exempt a utility, a class of utilities, or a utility service if the Commission determines that an exemption is in the public interest.
Renewable Portfolio Standard Process (RPS): Alaska does not have a mandatory or a voluntary renewable portfolio standard.

Contact Information

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List of Reference Sources

  1. Alaska - AS 42.05.990 - Definitions (2014).
  2. Alaska - AS 42.05.711 - Exemptions (2014).

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