Flip: Chugach Electric Association Board election results move board back to the center

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The Chugagh Electric Board election and annual meeting was crowded on Friday.

The results from the Chugach Electric Association Board election, which ended Friday, will bring one new board member on the board of directors, and leaves one incumbent in place.

Incumbent Sam Cason was bounced from the board by challenger by Dan Rogers. Incumbent Mark Wiggin retained his seat, pulling in more votes than challenger Todd Lindley.

Cason and Wiggins were both supported by major unions such as Laborers Local 341, IBEW, and the Alaska Center [for the Environment].

Final board election results announced during the Chugach Electric Association community appreciation event on Friday at Changepoint Alaska were:

  • Mark Wiggin: 6,675
    Dan Rogers: 6,449
    Sam Cason: 5,892
    Todd Lindley: 4,877

It was enough to flip the board to a more consumer-friendly outlook for the coming year, yet it was an illustration of just how effective the environmental lobby is at taking over and retaining seats on power association boards.

In recent years, the Alaska Center and Outside dark money have made taking over electric coops a priority for moving power away from some sources, like coal, natural gas, and hydropower, and toward solar and wind. Board elections are not covered by campaign finance laws, and have become a new battleground for the hardline environmentalists, who are increasingly focused on taking down hydropower projects.

Anchorage and the Matanuska-Susitna Valley’s power source, the Eklutna Hydroelectric Project, has been under siege by environmental groups that want the Eklutna Dam removed, even though it provides the lowest cost power in Southcentral Alaska, producing approximately 44% of Matanuska Electric Association’s renewable generation portfolio and approximately 25% of Chugach’s renewable generation portfolio.

The leftist Anchorage Assembly majority also wants the dam removed, but has been strategic in its timing, because the decision is ultimately made by the governor. The Assembly leadership wants to wait until there is a Democrat governor or at least until Gov. Mike Dunleavy is out of office.

The Assembly has been at odds with Chugach Electric Association, where board members set the policy recommendation; the Municipality itself does not have a vote. Last month, the CEA board sent a letter to the governor with its recommendation for the future of the dam, which is covered by a formal 1991 agreement with the federal government to review fish and wildlife concerns periodically.

CEA explained, “Although representatives of the MOA, through Anchorage Hydropower, have participated at every step in the process required by the 1991 Agreement for the past five years, the MOA is not participating in the submittal to the Governor.  In October 2020, as part of the acquisition of Municipal Light & Power by Chugach, the MOA surrendered its voting rights on the Eklutna Hydroelectric Project and the 1991 Agreement matters until the MOA acquires necessary utility managerial and technical expertise that is approved by the Regulatory Commission of Alaska (RCA). That process has not yet occurred, so according to RCA’s orders, the Municipality continues to have no voting rights and cannot participate in or delay decisions related to implementation of the 1991 Agreement at this time.”

The letter and explanation are at this link.

The electric utility, which bought Anchorage Municipal Light and Power two years ago after voters approved a merger, has nearly 500 employees.

13 COMMENTS

  1. It’s less a tribute to the effectiveness of the environmental lobby than the gross laziness and apathy of the voters.

  2. Lindley was definitely more conservative. And I appreciated his thoughts on so-called sustainable energy, but his wholesale embracing of the two carbon-conspiracy nutjobs was concerning. Our board members need to be able to find a path forward without a tinfoil hat. They need to know what, and what not, to believe. They need to clearly understand what CEA and the state can do with investors and the limited money rate payers and the state has. Board members need to be pragmatic and able to listen to all sides. Conspiracy theory whackos don’t understand that. It appears the ratepayer voters do.

    • What is a carbon conspiracy nutjob? You’re going to need to produce the goods on how people speaking out against CO2 control are conspiracy theorists. This is source data stuff man. If you spent half the time looking into the globalist we call a governor as you do picking on these guys perhaps you could speak on this topic intelligently.

  3. The current technology for recovering energy from wind and solar is both primitive and unsustainable. These groups are not environmentalists. They simply are manouvered into positions to grab power for greedy, power lusting companies and interests seeking control over the public. The business model to perpetually subsidize industries from public funds to make individuals profit is not viable. The investors become rich while those who actually work become impoverished. The product they produce is substandard and not a reliable service, while destroying the natural environment. As a country the elites are spoiled rich kids who never worked or created anything of value, just inherited the power over a legacy of national wealth and living standards which we are allowing them to squander. All the while whining they want to be in control over the serious people who have skills and real functional educations.

  4. While many of us are thrilled that Dan Rogers won, Sam Cason was not the biggest problem. Mark Wiggin and Jim Nordland are the real cancer on the Board. Both of them serve on the REAP board, which Chugach isn’t allowed to join! Both of them should not be allowed on the Chugach board due to conflicts with labor and renewable ideologies.

    Glad to see progress……. I hope.

  5. Good.
    Their obsession with “green energy” was destroying the capabilities of the utility.
    Let’s get rid of the rest of the greenies in the next election.

  6. Anyone who wants to see hydro power removed is not an environmentalist. Hydro power is cheap, renewable, and releases no carbon into the atmosphere. Those that want hydro-power projects destroyed (other than the useful idiot crowd) have a ulterior motives.

    • Exactly. I want the Eklutna River dam removed, I am definitely not an environmentalist, and my ulterior motive is salmon. While the dam may give everyone a way to say, hey, we have renewable energy, look at the high percentages of renewable energy it gives us, it contributes an incredibly small percent of our actual energy – 10-15%, maybe a bit more or less. If we all remember to turn our porch lights off, we won’t even miss it.

      And if we can find that small percentage of energy elsewhere, by saving it or making it, we could have multiple species of salmon spawning, rearing, and running in the lake and the river. That feels like a worthy challenge. This isn’t about healthy ecosystems without humans, it’s not going to be a wilderness area you have to break a law to look at, it’s about having it all – energy and salmon. The numbers make it so simple. The people making it hard think the status quo is fine. When has that been a frontier value?

      • Less hydro usually means more coal use. More coal combustion means more salmon contaminated with mercury- which is released during coal combustion and works its way up the food chain into salmon, and then into humans.

        Eating fish means being exposed to dangerous mercury.

  7. I was at the meeting and was dismayed by the CEO’s statement that decarbonization was CEA’s priority. However, I am thrilled that Dan is on the board, good job. We all need to take this much more seriously. Thanks to Todd for his run! Do it again, sir!

  8. Bit of good news.
    Too bad about the Bruins
    They kept Swayman in the net, but were eliminated by a hockey team from Florida. (of all places!)

    The US is going to need good power resources if we want sheets of ice in the Sun Belt.

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