The Chugach Electric Board of Directors election has generated considerable interest in my plan for moving Chugach to 100% renewable energy. Because some candidates are openly opposed to renewable energy, while others are giving lip-service to the possibility it might be feasible “someday,” it seems like a good time to repost the 100% Renewable Plan I presented to the Board of Directors back in 2018. In it, I explain what “100% Renewable” means to me and lay out cost-effective ways to achieve 100% through modest expansion of existing renewable energy sources in 5 years or less.
In the 2 years since the original post there have been significant developments in renewable energy in Alaska which make the 100% renewable goal even easier and cheaper to achieve. I have updated the original plan to reflect the rapidly changing technology and promote the growing awareness that renewables are for real in Alaska. Chugach still has no plan to address the price and shortage of natural gas, and no plans to develop a plan. Renewables are the only viable option to lower both electric rates and greenhouse gas emissions. Here is the 100% Renewable Plan 2020 update.
Although there are a number of off-grid solar operations in the Girdwood area, Chris and Lynn Kent’s home is one of the first to connect into the Chugach Electric grid. Alaska Solar is doing the 6kw installation. Chris and Lynn are looking forward to watching their electric meter run backwards on sunny Girdwood days when excess power from the panels is flowing back into the grid. Not only are they saving money, they are dramatically reducing the carbon footprint of their home. Over the 30 year life of the panels, the system will eliminate about 200,000 pounds of CO2, equivalent to 16 years of emissions from the average gasoline car. Let the sun shine!
At the recent Chugach Electric Virtual Candidates Forum, candidates were asked to discuss a plan that has been proposed to achieve 100% renewable power not just for Chugach Electric, but the entire railbelt electric grid. Although the proposal has been presented to the Board of Directors of Chugach Electric, Golden Valley Electric, Matanuska Electric and Homer Electric, as well as the Alaska Energy Authority at Governor Dunleavy’s request, it became clear that none of the other candidates were aware of it. Continue reading
We must begin planning for the transition to renewable energy NOW! Studies have shown that Cook Inlet natural gas reserves will be depleted within a decade and the cost is expected to double by 2030. Achieving 100% renewable electricity generation is within reach by expanding existing wind and hydroelectric generation and adding pumped-hydro storage to the grid. In addition, the transmission infrastructure must be upgraded. These projects take time measured in years to design, permit and build. At this time, Chugach has no plans in the works to develop any new renewable energy sources. NOW is the time to get serious about planning for a cleaner, lower-cost energy future.
Concerned About Climate Change? Vote!
To the Editor,
Anyone who has lived in Alaska for more than a few years knows that global warming is real. I live in Girdwood and have seen the ski season shortened by 8 weeks in the last 7 years due to warmer temperatures. Alaska is warming at twice the global average rate and the scientific consensus is strongly in agreement that the warming we see is primarily due to elevated atmospheric CO2 levels. The combustion of fossil fuels for transportation and electric power generation are the largest contributors.
On April 19, Chugach Electric Association member-owners began voting to fill two seats on the Board of Directors who represent the members of the cooperative. I’m running for the CEA Board because I’m dissatisfied with the current directors, who have strong ties to the fossil fuel industry and no plan to control electric rates or address the root causes of climate change. I need your vote for lower rates and less pollution through clean renewable energy.