Alex Gimarc: Vote common sense in the Chugach Electric Association board elections


Today there is another election, the annual Chugach election. Given the strength of renewable energy scams these days, this election could be as important as the Bronson-LaFrance runoff for Anchorage mayor.

Important how? Because Chugach is co-owner of the Eklutna Generating Station (electricity and water for Anchorage) and the largest supplier of electricity to the Rail Belt, poor decisions by the Chugach board regarding electricity generation will have significant negative consequences for decades to come.

Voting began April 17 and will continue through the annual meeting on May 17.

Four candidates are running for two seats on the Chugach Board of Directors. The two incumbents, Sam Cason and Mark Wiggin, are both supported by the Alaska Center (for the environment) and the Alaska Renewable Energy Project (REAP) are running for another four-year term on the board.

Your opponents are Dan Rogers and Todd Linley.

Chugach members have been voting online since April 17 and are notified by email. The Chugach Annual Meeting and Election Page is a great place to get started, get additional information, or contact Chugach with any questions. Participation is generally quite low, with about 10% of the 144,000 members voting. Voters who go to the polls can have a significant impact on who wins.

challenger Dan Rogers And Todd Lindley run under the auspices of an association that calls itself Choose Chugach stability. Both candidates are engineers. Rogers has been an entrepreneur and businessman in the electrical world for decades and is a co-founder of one of the largest power systems engineering companies in Alaska. He notes that he has “more experience with renewable systems that actually work” and an important data point in this election. Lindley is slightly younger and has more than a decade of experience in mechanical engineering.

Both candidates are clearly non-doctrinaire on the choice of energy production, meaning that for them it is not about wind and solar to the exclusion of everything else, which likely explains the lack of support for their candidacy from the Alaska Center and REAP.

My estimate is that renewable energy supporters currently hold a 5-2 or 4-3 majority on the Chugach board. Vote for these two candidates and we have a very good chance of moving the board majority towards one of the world views mentioned above. Roger's interest in “renewable systems that actually work” is both a promise and a warning, given the current board's affair with him large solar and wind farms And Decarbonization.

The choice in this election is clear. If we want to pursue all of the above approaches to power generation here in the Rail Belt, Rogers and Lindley are your choice. If you want solar or wind generation with all the instability and costs it brings to the grid to the exclusion of everything else, Cason and Wiggin are your logical choice.

Rogers and Lindley will keep the lights on while Cason and Wiggin will introduce us to the brave new world of constant blackouts and skyrocketing electricity prices. From here it's a pretty easy decision.

The rest of the world is learning the painful lesson of over-reliance on renewable energy. We don't have to make the same mistakes up here to learn these lessons. If we want clean energy, there are many ways to achieve it, including multiple hydropower projects (excluding Watana), GenIV nuclear power plants and natural gas. All of this is affordable and reliable, something Cason and Wiggins' Big Wind and Big Solar are not.

Get out there and vote.

Alex Gimarc has lived in Anchorage since leaving the military in 1997. His interests include science and technology, the environment, energy, economics, military affairs, fisheries and disability policy. His weekly column, “Interesting Items,” is a roundup of news stories with key Alaska topics. He was a small business owner and information technology expert.

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