GVEA board meeting: August 26, 2019

By a concerned GVEA Member-Owner

The August 26, 2019 GVEA Board Meeting took place at the Tri-Valley Community Center in Healy, Alaska. This was primarily an informational/business meeting with multiple reports being reviewed. 

In regards to a Healy member-owners’ concern about the possible affects from the additional discharge of warm water from the Healy 2 coal plant, staff responded that total discharge from Healy 1 and 2 are 1.6% of the river flow, and monitoring of river temperatures show that river water returns to ambient temperatures 1,000 ft. below the plants. Staff concluded the Healy plants are not associated with changes in river ice conditions further downstream (instead Alaska experienced a mild winter, a direct byproduct of human-fueled climate change).

During the Insurance Exchange Report, Cory Borgeson, CEO, said “We will all be paying for PG&E’s insurance losses” from wildfires and their bankruptcy.  No direct mention was made to the link between increasing California wildfires and climate change, and the demise of PG&E.  Alaska may have the same risk factors for utilities from wildfires as California – this was not addressed.

A 4.9% reduction in COPA – cost of power – will start in September – saving the average user $2/month.

Effort continue to get all six railbelt utilities to sign an MOU for more efficient sharing of power amongst themselves. This will support better integration of renewable energy across the region. No legislative committee action (Senate or House) has occurred that is needed to support changes.

GVEA is funding the trial installation of 50 Electrostatic Precipitators ESPS in homes near the air quality monitor by Peede Road in North Pole to help address the area’s PM2.5 pollution problem.

Regarding the Fort Wainwright EIS scoping for a new power plant, Borgeson said GVEA should be proactive with the Interior Gas Authority.

Director’s closing comments included two new ideas: 1 – Install an information sign describing the Eva Wind Farm at the Ferry Road corner; and 2 – request APA facilitate a railbelt Director meeting.