The Clean Diesel Program provides support for projects that protect human health and improve air quality by reducing harmful emissions from diesel engines. This program includes grants and rebates funded under the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA).
The Alaska Energy Authority (AEA) participates in the State DERA program. Pending yearly funding from Congress, states can apply for DERA funds based on population. In addition to the state program, EPA also has a tribal DERA program that awards funds competitively nationwide. Please contact AEA for information on these programs.
DERA can cover a number of project types, from school bus replacement to railroad engines. The State of Alaska, through AEA, uses DERA funds exclusively to replace prime power diesel engines in rural Alaska. These engines typically run 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and make the largest impact on air quality for a rural community.
Due to a lack of a larger electric grid in most rural Alaska communities, electricity must be generated locally. Rural communities across the state use small diesel power plants to generate electricity; these are Alaska’s islanded grids. Emissions from these diesel engines can be problematic, as inefficient engines drive up fuel consumption and power costs. Installing newer certified, more efficient engines helps to both reduce the emissions per quantity of fuel combusted and produce electricity more efficiently. Specific estimates for each community are included in AEA’s annual DERA work plan.
AEA works within the purpose and restrictions of the DERA program to serve communities most in need of new diesel engines. In addition, to need, AEA considers the following when selecting communities for engine replacement: available data on current engine condition; the number of operational engines; reported generation efficiency; and factors affecting the eligibility of engines. AEA also works with individual utilities to confirm their interest in participating in the program and determine the full scope of the project.
EPA approved a request by the Department of Conversation (DEC) for AEA to be the lead granting authority for Alaska to administer funds from the DERA program starting the fiscal year 2016. DEC provides ongoing assistance to AEA on air quality measures associated with any DERA funding, as well as any assistance needed to manage these funds.
The following is a list of State DERA projects since 2015