Thank you Senator Murkowski! … Again!

This past week I did not have to go far to thank our US Senator for the instrumental work she did to bring tens of millions of dollars to our Region. Senator Murkowski is one elected official that never forgets the YK when she is fighting to bring billions of dollars in Federal grants and funding home to Alaska, and we can’t forget her when it comes time to vote!

Sen. Murkowski brought her campaign to the Bethel Cultural Center last Thursday to have a Meet & Greet with over 30 members of our community. It is not every day that our US Senator comes to town and it is nice to know that we have someone as strong as Lisa fighting for our way of life, traditions, and communities in the US Senate. Senator Murkowski, you are welcome back any time and thank you for always standing up for us rural Alaskans!

Andrew Guy is the President/CEO of Calista Corporation. He has served on the board of directors, worked as vice president of Yulista Management Services, and as Calista general counsel. He was born and raised in Napaskiak and grew up speaking Yup’ik.

Andrew Guy

Anchorage, AK

I’m Not Running for Office This Year

Dear Neighbors,

On Wednesday (June 8th, 2022), I withdrew from the Alaska State House election for District 13. I will not run for election this year.

This year’s chaotic redistricting process puts me in Senate and House districts where my close friends would have to run against me. I got into politics to make things better and campaigning against great lawmakers like Senator Elvi Gray-Jackson and Representative Andy Josephson would not make things better.

I am proud of my accomplishments and now I’m looking forward to spending more time with my daughter, Penelope, and son, Devon. Over the years, I’ve missed too many birthday parties, dance recitals, and other precious moments that are gone forever.

My outgoing message to my colleagues in the Alaska State Legislature is to do what’s best for children and families. By doing that, we can build a state where people want to build businesses, start families, and live fulfilling lives.

I’m still here for you. I welcome your input and ideas. Call my office at (907) 465-2095 or send me an email to [email protected]. Warm regards.

Rep. Chris Tuck

House District 23

Juneau, AK

Putting people first and creating opportunity for all matters

Good leaders represent everyone, not just those with outsized wealth and influence. It’s why I’m running for Governor. This has become a state where you prosper if you’re already prosperous, and you often get a cold shoulder if you’re not. Most Alaskans have been turned against each other to battle over support for good schools, our elders, a vibrant Marine Highway, or a strong PFD. We can do so much better.

I believe our fish should benefit Alaskans first, not Outside corporate factory trawlers that dump over 1,000 tons of halibut, salmon, and crab to the bottom of the ocean.

I believe everyone deserves an equal voice in their government. This Governor has allowed wealthy donors and lobbyists to spend as much as they want to get their candidates elected. Unlimited campaign spending drowns out your voices.

When our $500 limit on campaign contributions was struck down by a closely divided 2-1 court last year, I and others called on Governor Dunleavy to appeal that ruling. He refused.

Then the court ordered him to appeal that ruling or explain his refusal. He refused to appeal again. When he was called on to file legislation to establish new campaign donation limits, he again refused. I’ll pass election spending limits.

We should support good schools, job training, renewable energy projects, and the things that create opportunity. This Governor supports $1.2 billion in unjustifiable state subsidies to the wealthiest oil companies in the world. He spent his first three years in office claiming we were too poor to support schools and the things that create a future for people.

Today, with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, oil prices have skyrocketed. Crippling oil prices have given the state government a temporary spike in oil revenue. Temporary blood money isn’t a plan for the future.

You deserve a Governor who has a plan when oil prices fall after Russia’s war is over, not one who’ll use the return to lower oil prices as an excuse to plead state poverty again.

Before Russia’s war caused this spike in oil prices, the Governor proposed the same “plan” we’ll see again if he’s re-elected, and that I disagreed with.

After getting elected, he attempted to cut a devastating quarter-billion dollars from our public schools.

He twice tried to empty $1 billion from Alaska’s Power Cost Equalization fund, needed to lower energy costs.

With no plan, he then attempted to take an extra $3 billion from our Permanent Fund. That would have been the biggest raid on the Permanent Fund in state history.

For three years, he made us too poor to move schools and needed construction, renewable energy, and local community projects forward. He pled poverty while giving away $1.2 billion in state subsidies to the wealthiest oil companies in the world.

I believe we should use Alaska’s oil, while there is still world demand for it, to fund jobs, VPSO’s in every community that needs one, world-class schools, renewable energy, and the things that build a better future.

That’s why I voted against these unaffordable oil company subsidies as a legislator. As a state senator in 2013, Dunleavy cast the deciding vote to enact them.

I’ve voted to support responsible resource development. But as owners of Alaska’s oil, we should be equal partners with the oil industry, not junior partners.

I believe the massive, toxic Pebble Mine threatens our greatest salmon runs. Governor Dunleavy has spent your money on lawyers to side with Canadian Pebble Mine executives and against Alaskans who rely on fish for food, income, and sport.

This Governor has spent millions subsidizing private mining roads. Responsible projects stand on their own. In the Susitna Valley and Kobuk River region, he’s spent your money to support corporate mine prospects, many of which we know little about. I agree with former Governor Jay Hammond, who I was friends with. If mining can’t pay its own way, we shouldn’t use the people’s money to subsidize it.

Jessica Cook and I both grew up without our parents and without privilege. We know from experience that putting people first and creating opportunity for all matters.

Jessica has put children first as a teacher and elected education leader.

I’ve voted to put our students, children, elders, and future first as a legislator.

That’s what we’ll do as your Governor and Lt. Governor.

Les Gara is a former legislator and Asst. Attorney General on the civil prosecution of Exxon after the Exon Valdez Oil Spill. He lives in Anchorage.

Jessica Cook is a public school teacher, former Vice President of both Alaska’s and Anchorage’s education associations, and lives in Palmer.

Les Gara

Jessica Cook

Anchorage, AK

Alaska Sustainable Energy Conference – A Promising Start to a Very Important Conversation

How do we ensure we have enough heat and power for Alaskans? How do we reduce carbon emissions from our energy generation to create a sustainable future? What technologies, business models and policies will help enable the energy transition? How do we make sure we have reliable energy as we transition?

These are all very lofty questions, yet we’ve come to a point from an energy cost, supply, and environmental standpoint that we actually need to develop real answers to these questions.

The one thing I’ve learned about implementing change is that it can’t be successful without all the players at the table. Or at least in the same building. Alaska’s first Sustainable Energy Conference did just that. Not a small feat in a post Covid world.

Let me set the stage a little more. Today, 70-80% of the Railbelt’s power and most of Southcentral Alaska’s heat is generated using a single source: Cook Inlet natural gas.

This source has treated us well and I can say I’ve enjoyed many hot showers and bumped up my thermostat on cold winter days. The issue is that this is a finite resource that comes with carbon emissions. We must use our gas reserves strategically.

In the short term I’d say its purpose is to heat our homes and facilitate integration of renewable energy projects. In the long term, further conservation measures may be available as heat pumps are adopted on a larger scale.

To make our natural gas supply go further and to create a sustainable environment, Alaska must deploy proven and cost competitive renewable energy technologies.

Unlike the Lower 48, Alaska has an isolated electricity grid which is even more isolated in Rural Alaska. So, it’s up to us to make the change.

The good news is that we have the autonomy to make these changes and we can get a head start by learning from the Lower 48. Don’t worry, we’ll still make sure put our Alaska twist on every project we do!

Gov. Mike Dunleavy introduced a bill that would require 80% of electricity generation to be from renewable sources by 2040. The bill has intermediate milestones because the reality is that what we’re talking about doing is complex and it will be a transition, not a light switch, pun intended.

Electricity is used on a completely on-demand basis. The utilities make sure that there’s enough power available so that the grid can respond to the whims of human nature.

We run dishwashers, turn on the lights, charge our phones, even charge our cars all at the flip of a switch. Stable, reliable power is what we’ve come to expect.

While we can adjust our demand habits in the future, electricity supply and demand will always be a little unpredictable and expected to be 100% reliable.

So now we’re talking about integrating less predictable electricity supply such as solar, wind and other sources. I share none of this with the intent to say it can’t be done.

It absolutely can be done and has been proven in other states and countries. Possible is not the question, but how. We’re talking about solving a complex problem and it’s going to take a lot of minds working together and communicating openly, honestly, and inclusively to figure this out.

When I say a lot of minds, I mean we’re going to need all viewpoints: utilities, fossil fuel companies, renewable energy companies, regulators, public advocacy groups, government at all levels, landowners, project financers, environmental agencies, and especially public input.

We need all stakeholders so we can effectively map out how we get from A to B affordably, reliably and with considerably less carbon.

Our company, Renewable IPP, is an Alaska-grown small business who develops, constructs, and operates utility scale solar farms. We built the Willow Solar Farm, the first project of its kind and are working on several projects along the Railbelt from Fairbanks to Homer.

Our company has developed a reputation for being transparent and collaborative. Some of that comes from our personalities but it also comes out of necessity. We recognized early on that while we were developing expertise in solar, we didn’t have expertise in all the areas needed to implement Alaska’s largest and first commercial solar farm.

Bottom line, we acknowledged that we didn’t know everything. That’s where collaboration and honesty came in. We openly discussed our plans and sought feedback and it’s been a heart-warming experience to see utilities, landowners, local governments, community members, project investors and lenders all lean in to help develop smart solutions together.

This brings me back to the Alaska Sustainable Energy Conference. What was so powerful about the conference is that there were participants from all energy walks of life and a broad spectrum of stakeholders.

After years of meeting over Zoom, the conference provided an opportunity for everyone to get together and allow the spontaneity of conversation and brainstorming to take place.

Ideas were shared during panel discussions and people got to talking during breaks, collaborating further in the ideas shared and as the day went on new actions were committed to progress.

I’m an introvert by nature and enjoy a lot of quiet time to let my brain wander. As I’ve gained more experience in life, I value opportunities to collaborate with others and am in awe how human brains interact to create an idea that is bigger and better than the sum of its parts.

This conference provided just that right opportunity where stakeholders come together to create and commit. I imagine this conference will get better and better with each year and I look forward to seeing topics and conversations mature.

This first conference made a powerful statement: “Alaska is committed to a sustainable energy future;” and subsequent conferences and tireless work by all parties in between will ultimately unlock our shared objective.

While we’re not across the finish line yet, I know that the hardest part of any journey is the first step. Well, Alaska, I’d say we’re off to the races and I’ll look forward to running by your side!

Jenn Miller is the CEO and co-founder of Renewable IPP, LLC. She is a licensed professional mechanical engineer who grew up in Eagle River and is thrilled to have the opportunity to contribute to Alaska’s future energy solutions.

Jenn Miller, CEO

Renewable IPP, LLC.

Anchorage, AK

Example: 9075434113