Rick Whitbeck: Alaska’s utilities are increasingly run by eco-extremists



Many Alaskans know the tale of the Trojan Horse as a metaphor for deception masked as a gift with dangerous or deadly consequences. The sad part is we might be witnessing the tragic outcome happening right under our nose throughout our state – even without a giant wooden horse as a prop.

Working from every direction – top-down, bottom-up and center-out – while building coalitions between environmental, social-justice, “woke” organizations and idealogues, eco-extremists are making inroads in local and state government, school boards, planning commissions, road service authorities and even public utility boards.  

From those positions, they have launched destructive initiatives designed to advance their collective agenda, while penalizing Alaskans for living, working and playing in our God-given grandeur.

Let’s focus on the utility board elections up and down the Railbelt as an example for what they desire to inflict on Alaskans. Each of Golden Valley Electric, Matanuska Electric, Chugach Electric, and Homer Electric have seen “green” energy activists elected to their respective boards. These elections either created parity in numbers between business-minded board members and zealots, or formed a majority of eco-left directors.

Utility board elections are different from other races in the state. For starters, they generally garner less than 10% voter turnout, so they’re under the radar and largely ignored. Except for contract renewal periods, when pro-consumer advocate slates clash with union-friendly candidates, there is little coordination between interested applicants.

These elections aren’t overseen by Alaska’s Public Offices Commission, which keeps the public from knowing the amounts of money and activism behind candidates’ campaigns.  All that said, they can be greatly influenced by coordination between interest groups and the candidates themselves.  

We saw this in Chugach Electric Associatin’s last election. Working together, groups including the Alaska Center and the Renewable Energy Alaska Project publicly backed a slate of candidates whose focus was on decarbonization of Chugach’s operations. 

Estimates of the “green” candidates outspending the pro-consumer slate by 500% or more wouldn’t be an exaggeration, given the multitude of mailers, phone calls and get-out-the-vote activities witnessed and reported by Chugach Electric members throughout the election cycle in support of the activists.

Two of the three extremists won, while the third just missed being seated.  Chugach’s board now holds a 5-4 majority for the “green” movement. That’s not good for ratepayers.

With extremists in power positions across the state’s electric utility boards, expect to see actions to cripple Alaska’s resource development-driven economy and lock up the state from future opportunities.  They’ll propose programs to replace coal, natural gas and other traditional energy sources with wind, solar and other renewables.  

You’ll also hear about Renewable Portfolio Standards, which is a forced market manipulation, whereby penalties are enforced for not transitioning an increasingly high percentage of the utility’s energy production to renewables during an arbitrary time period.  The activist-driven desire is to have the Railbelt at 80% renewables by 2040 (compared to 15% today).

Those goals, aside from being impossible to meet given today’s technologies and “green” energy and battery storage limitations, would also be dangerous to Alaskans. A winter storm in Texas crippled wind turbines in February 2021, leading to grid failure and tragically taking 246 lives.  

Sadly, families in California are all-too-used to rolling blackout warnings, as their renewables-driven grid lacks the capacity and reliability to provide consistent load during periods of high use. 

No one should want Alaska to be the next poster child for energy failure, but that’s where we’re headed if the “green” advocates get their way. Alaska’s issues could be even more extreme than Texas or California, as solar is effectively useless half the year, and wind power is intermittent at best throughout the Railbelt.  

Alaskans are blessed with abundant supplies of natural gas in Cook Inlet and the North Slope, and further tapping and developing those resources would allow our state to continue with low-cost, reliable energy for decades, if not longer.

Now is the time for Alaskans to recognize the calls to decarbonize, transition, “go green” and “save the planet” are nothing more than Trojan Horse-style maneuverings from the Left. 

Accepting their premises and not aggressively rejecting their gifts of bipartisanship, consensus and moderation will lead to the fall of Alaska. Let’s not end up like Troy.

Rick Whitbeck is the Alaska State Director for Power The Future, a national nonprofit organization that advocates for American energy jobs. Contact him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @PTFAlaska.


  1. If they care about clean energy then why is it for the last 30+ years they have opposed the Susitna-Watana project?

    • erak – spot on.

      We burned half of the beluga gas solely because the sierra club (at the time) opposed Susitna in the 70s and 80s. Susitna, if built today, would likely be $0.03/kWh power at the bus. In contrast, the Fire Island Wind project is contracted at $0.097.

      if you want green energy that is reliable and will last for the next century, build watana now.


    • You can also get to the 80% mark with GenIV nukes. Note I came in 3rd in the 2010 Board election by wanting to discuss nukes. IBEW ads accused me of wanting to put mushroom clouds over ANC. As this is cold country and nukes are essentially a heat engine, yes, I would like one in my back yard. Cheers –

      • AND we have had very successful small nuclear reactors powering our Subs & aircraft carries for over 50 years now.
        Why can’t we power a few villages & try it out in AK?
        Answer: Hippies.

        • You have considered one side of that argument and there is good reason to consider the other.

          Absolute idiots within the military ran the Ft. Greely SM-1A U-235 enrichment plant and vented to atmosphere more than once then pumped coolant into the aquifer.

          Mean spirited idiots within the US Gov’t introduced the iodine-131 experiment through the US Atomic Energy Commission (now DOE)’s Isotope Distribution Program. What’s that you ask? They fed radioactive isotopes to Alaska Natives.

          The answer is not hippies; the answer is US Government idiots and psychopaths.

  2. I certainly commend the words of … Logic, Reason, and Common Sense! But, I fear Alaskans are too ignorant and drunk on Happy-Happy KoolAide emotional feel good euphoria, always trying solve an imaginable crisis and cataclysmic doom. Unfortunately, I’m afraid that these eco-terrorists will only bring financial pain to rate payers … chasing Rainbows and Butterflies!
    Enjoy the ride neighbors!!!

  3. Any and all decisions regarding Alaska energy must be supported by factual studies that include TOTAL COST OF OWNERSHIP! Wind turbines, solar panels and massive batteries are NOT reliable/renewable energy sources. In addition, they create tons and tons of toxic waste that can’t be recycled. Alaska has many abundant sources of clean burning natural gas! Any changes to Alaska’s reliable energy grid must be supported by vetted total cost of ownership and or cost versus benefit. Green deal is a lie and it is proven over and over again and that is why other country’s are moving away from so called green energy. A lie told a million times is still a lie! NO to all do gooders that don’t do their research. Utility users are not going to pay higher rates for less reliability. Just look at Fire Island what a joke!

    • We ARE going “…to pay higher rates for less reliability.”
      We just HAD an election at our electric utility board and the solar/wind greenies won.
      Suzanne had at least 2 articles here telling us who to vote for
      Did you vote?

  4. I would not expect any help from a state legislature which is in large part beholden to those unions. It’s also filling up with left wing extremists. It can’t pass a comprehensive energy plan to solve our long term financial issues which might enable us to solve these other critical problems. The current senate can’t even follow the constitution on working fairly with the other body and we hope they’ll “do the right thing”? 90,000 customers in the Chugach electric, 14,000 voted – but 90,000 will complain when their rates spike.

  5. Excellent article.

    It is almost soul crushing to read about our apathy, complacency and ignorance. There has to be a better way then to be colonized by marxists.

  6. We will tell our kids, “I remember when the wooden horse was on the outside of the gate. But we chose to bring it in. We slept soundly knowing that we had not been called intolerant or racist by simply letting the wooden horse sit in our courtyard that evening. We were deceived. We had no idea how much the contents of that horse hated us. But by morning, we knew. We had become slaves to our invited masters.”

  7. Wind and solar both introduce large inefficiencies into power generation, and without adequate backup generators spinning to fill the gap cannot perform sufficiently to be part of a complicated, and most importantly, reliable electrical grid. Not denying that battery backup can and has been used to some effect, but the battery technology still is not close to where it would need to be for this to work. As is the case with solar panels, and wind turbines, batteries only last so long, then they need to be replaced. Batteries are probably those most troublesome to deal with when they reach end of life, but the potential exists that that is not so.

    How is it that we have never seen a cradle to grave assessment on these ‘replacement’ technologies? If we ever do, what truths might we glean from these assessments? In the absence of this, we are flying blind, in the midst of dangerous terrain.

  8. Rick,
    That was the plan all along. None of this is news or even surprising. While rational people are busy working and raising their families, the paegan Democrats and their environmental religious flock have been infiltrating our schools, universities, school boards, local assemblies, utilities, courts, news agencies and corporate boards. The take-over started in the 1960’s and has taken two generations to take real effect. But it’s now here. Transformation is near complete.
    Rational people need to be re-educated. That means involvement. Even a utility board needs to be re-rationalized with clear thinking humans. Active involvement through teaching and spreading the word is the only way to reverse this insanity.
    Thanks for signaling with your piece. Now, let’s do something about it.

  9. Too late. Cat’s out of the bag and it ain’t going back in. My advice is to figure out work-arounds and prepare yourself and your house/property. Self sufficient is where it’s at; not cheap but will be the necessity.

  10. This well-written article is incontrovertible. In fact, Mr. Whitbeck’s points apply to all levels and stations of government. The Marxist’s efforts are centrally-planned to change our culture to second-world status. For example, the Alaska DOTPF seldom builds new infrastructure; it focuses more on remodeling and retrofitting existing. As to new initiatives, it spends $millions to study and re-study them only to choose no-build options and pivot to the next study. Local planning commissions follow the same no-build strategies. The “Trojan Horse” is everywhere. Look at your neighbors to see those wanting to reduce your standard of living to serfdom.

  11. As oil runs out & blue collar people leave state for jobs; the PF will be watered down to pay for government.
    We will move closer to AK being a big park that people are interested in visiting.
    We WILL be a greenie state, w/ a high % of government jobs.
    Look at how “blue” ANC already is.
    That’s just the start.

    • The oil is not going to RUN OUT for 200 years. Why do you keep saying that ??? TAPS was only going to pump oil for 25 years too. The north slope has barely been tapped.

  12. I am beyond tired of this take. Way beyond.

    What is happening isn’t “right under our noses”, it’s directly in our faces.
    The progressive left have been very direct about their goals for decades.

    What happens, again and again, is most people can’t be bothered to care, much less vote. Especially conservatives.

    Don’t whine that the left is doing exactly what they said they would do, the way they said they would do it. The left outthinks, outworks, out hustles, out plans, and spanks the right hard in almost every Alaska election.

    Citizens have had chance after chance after chance to get involved and stop this. And the vast majority can’t be bothered.

    People get the government they deserve. And we’re about to get it where we sit, because that’s what voters do. Sit.

  13. So MA, why don’t you run for your local Utility Board? School Board? Assembly? Council?
    Legislature? Most of us know the problem. Help with a solution, please.

    • Did I hurt your feelings?

      To answer your snark, I don’t live in the craphole of Anchorage. You gotta solve your own problems. Assuming you can get off your backsides and try.

      Here in God’s country (Juneau) I am and have been active in everything from public health to education.

      I don’t get involved in the school board (beyond actually bothering to vote) because my kids are out of school and these issues need to be solved by the parents. My contributions are in other areas.

      I could go on at some length, but why bother?

      • Avenger,
        Juneau is the Deep State. No where to go but north 20 miles, or south 5 miles, or, over to Douglas Island. At least in Anchorage you can get out of the crapola fairly quick. But in Juneau you are perpetually stuck in bureaucratic red tape 24/7/365. Democrat paradise with a few pockets of old time conservatives like the Hildrees. Residents west and north of Haines don’t even refer to you Southeasterners as real Alaskans.
        ps ……I worked on Kelly Tshibaka’s campaign, if that qualifies as getting involved.

        • Snuffy, a real Alaskan? What the hell is that? I’ve been here since before Statehood, lived and worked from Ketchikan to Deadhorse and have immense appreciation and respect for Alaskans from every region.

      • Seriously and sincerely Masked Avenger. Thank you for your caring, involved, and educated service to your community. Here in Anchorage more and more people will wake up and be doing the same.

      • You’re one to speak of crap holes. Nothing out of Juneau is anything but crap these days. I went to the statehood celebration, a pretty pumped kid in 1959. 64 Yrs later I’m regretting it. Please, don’t bother, i beg you.

  14. Thank you, Rick for this timely message. Let’s build a network of active resource supporters who can be proactive as we move forward to save and equip our state with reliable natural resources.

  15. Union support is massive for the green candidates, not because they believe in their mission but because they will always support the union demands for higher wages and benefits. Almost impossible to match the money they will pump into an election.

  16. The last thing that Alaskans can afford in the winter are rolling blackouts. The climate activists have had at least 3 decades to come up with real solutions that will work in all climates. They have so far failed abysmally. Not only that, the climate people are responsible for killing the very wild life they say they are protecting with their wind farms being placed off the eastern coast (dead whales and fish and dolphins) and valleys in the western US to get power to California (birds and deer and elk). And don’t forget their war on cattle and yes, rice because of the so-called gas emissions. Where does it stop?

        • Animal agriculture produces 65% of the worlds nitrous oxide emissions, which has a global warming impact that is twice as great as carbon dioxide. The livestock raised to feed people generates about 15% of the worlds TOTAL greenhouse gas emissions. That’s the impact. Great question though. Thanks for asking!

  17. Note that the Chugach Board only seats 7. Greens hold a 4-3 working majority depending on what Begich tells Nordlund to do. Cheers –

  18. Growth in carbon Emissions by China, India, others, significantly increase each year while the US is on a downward trend. Alaskans trying to be green is like emptying the ocean with a tea cup. By increasing energy costs here, we continue to push manufacturing over to such countries that don’t give a damn about emissions. This is truly the Trojan horse. Greenies should be pushing for a change in the problem countries rather than continuing to buy products from, and thus supporting such countries.

  19. I wonder if this guy would have been against moving on from whale oil once gasoline came around. At some point fossil fuels will go bye bye and while I know that time is still a long way off, there’s nothing wrong with adding renewable energy into a power companies portfolio.

    • Note that whale oil is a mere century and a half in the past. The new group of dummies are after natural gas, one of the cleanest generation techniques out there (big hydro and GenIV nuke are a tiny bit better). Nice try. Thanks for playing. Cheers –

      • That’ because natural gas has as its primary component, methane, which has a global warming potential 21 times that of carbon dioxide. Thanks for mentioning it. Cheers.

        • Perhaps, when natural gas (methane) is released into the environment. But that is not what happens when it is burned as a fuel.

          This logic thing is really not your forte. Maybe your CIA paymasters can up your education a bit.

  20. Rick’s opinion here is full of emotion and fury but light on facts and solutions. You should be as wary of vocal people who see enemies in every shadow and try to convince you of monsters behind every bush as you would of trojan horses. The facts are that gas in Cook Inlet is running out. When it’s gone we will be importing gas from elsewhere at great expense and being beholden to others for our power. This will with complete certainty drive our rates up. How’s that for scary? Data supports the fact that fossil fuels are the most dangerous and unhealthy choices for energy when you consider the pollution and impact on our environment (https://ourworldindata.org/safest-sources-of-energy). If we are less interested in promoting culture wars and more interested in keeping energy costs down then renewables make great sense as they are trending cheaper than fossil fuels (https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/levelized-cost-of-energy). For reliable, year-round, carbon free, safe energy nothing beats nuclear power (https://www.energyforhumanity.org/en/briefings/energy/nuclear-power-and-safety-the-facts/). We have many options for energy in Alaska. I want low cost and safe power as much as the next guy but making decisions on emotion rather than information and facts is foolish. I’m going to ignore the irrational howlings of Mr. Whitbeck and continue to support the development of clean, safe and reliable energy in Alaska.

    • Is it unreasonable to require cradle to grave analysis on renewables to compare with those of fossil fuels? Is there one for nuclear?

      • Yes it is unreasonable to the single minded eco warriors because they don’t want you to consider that any renewable comes from mining, oil, and gas. They don’t want you to know that planet earth is already at the lower levels of CO2 needed to support healthy plant growth.

        They use faulty data/science (such as Scott Miller does above) and web-sites that look and sound amazing, but are similarly light on facts and real total data needed to make sound decisions. They scare you with the demise of the spotted owl and snail darter to keep you from ultimate clean renewables such as Susitna Watana. And they frighten you with tails of nuclear meldowns to keep you from embracing nuclear power.

        They use comforting words and phrases like “energy transition” and “Gap Oil” to virtue signal that they do not want to completely end fossil fuel or mineral mining which clear thinking conservatives know are necessary to sustain the lives we have built. They scare you with tails of natural gas and oil shortages then refuse to allow pipelines or dams to be built. Progressisves want us all to live in a fifteen square block area with all of our needs met, no cars, no individual freedom. Utopia. The only cradle to grave discussion the progressives want is about humans. They want to control you and I from cradle to grave (ever see the move Logan’s Run?).

        And those such as the Masked Aavenger provide much help to progressives by publicly tearing down conservatives over minor points or process. They drive good intending conservatives away from boards and commissions by the way they treat those already in office. If a politician is not in lockstep with the one or two who they worship they attack – voraciously. Progressives never do this. You will almost never see a progressive attack anothe progressive. It is their hive mentality that prevents them from doing so. That mentality has carried them this far in their agenda, which would have been obvious to conservatives had we not been contiually fighting amongst ourselves – over really stupid crap.

        Point is, if we want to resolve this, we must all get together and stop the infighting. Stop hero worshiping one or two politicians. If we focus only on the battle, the war will be lost.

        We must open our eyes – as Pogo said “we have met the enemy, and he is us.”

  21. For the sake of a lousy PFD, Mr. Whitbeck, you’ll let Alaska’s coastal villages fall into the sea, and others sink into the thawing permafrost.

    • Such infantile babblings, Whidbey.

      Alaskan coastal villages were routinely eroding and falling into the sea for thousands of years before the Industrial Age. But never let facts get in the way of your anti-human, death cult dogmas.

  22. I want a warmer planet. Then if the good Lord keeps me on Alaska I don’t feel uncomfortable. I thought democrats like heat that’s why they travel to such places as Hawaii Costa Rica to get away from the cold Alaskan winter for a bit. Besides I am not sure if things we know will be as we know them to be today in 2040 , you know, with how hardened people’s hearts are to Christ including my own Christian brothers and sisters who are in a state of a apostasy. Today I live for today which is how we all should be living while America appears to be going kaput. In the 1950’s leaders could talk like ‘for 2000 we are moving toward this and that goal’ now I see ‘saving the planet thing’ is more of being hard hearted trying to delay the inevitable we are dying and the punishment of sins is death.

  23. Earth is warming since the Ice age which had no developments of oil, gas, coal, and mineral yet. It’s warming all on it’s own, because of our sins we only speeding up that warming process whether its oil and gas or sun and wind development. Remember Alaska used to be glaciers. This world is dying, our bodies are dying, it wasn’t meant to last for time immemorial. Wages for sin is death. Silly to believe you can save yourself and a planet too

    • That sin and global warming comment sounds interesting, Jen. How many times to I need to fornicate w/ the neighbor lady to raise Alaska’s seasonal average temp by ten degrees? I’ll admit it might be hard on me but I’m willing to give it a go. I wouldn’t want this to have been a waste of effort though so confirmation would be appreciated.

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