Update: Dunleavy plans Q&A for Cordova energy conference

Gov. Mike Dunleavy. (May 15, 2019) Photo courtesy of Paxson Woelber/The Alaska Landmine

Updated Oct. 25.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy plans to participate in a Q&A with Electrify Alaska! Conference participants. Additionally, Dunleavy will take part in a roundtable discussion with community leaders 5 p.m. Monday, Oct. 25 at the Cordova Center, city officials said.

The conference, which will include discussion of topics such as electric boats, marine renewable energy projects, and technologies to heat homes using ambient energy, will be held at the Cordova Center from Oct. 25-28. The event will be hosted by Cordova Electric Cooperative in partnership with Beneficial Electrification League, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association and the Natural Resources Defense Council.

“The purpose of this conference is to help show Cordova more cost-effective, responsible ways to use energy,”  said Clay Koplin, mayor of Cordova and CEO of CEC. “The technologies are out there. They’re being used in Southeast Alaska to great benefit, and we have those same opportunities here in Cordova.”

Registration for the conference is available online. A general admission pass to all four days of the conference is priced at $250, while a single-day general admission pass is priced at $100. Cordova residents may register to attend the conference’s Oct. 25 welcome reception event for free. As of Thursday, Oct. 21, a significant number of spots remained available for conference participants, organizers said.

Dunleavy’s single-day visit to Cordova will also include a tour of the town’s main street and harbor, as well as meetings with local stakeholder groups such as the city of Cordova, the Native Village of Eyak and Prince William Sound Science Center. The visit will also be an opportunity to thank Dunleavy for his support for restoring local ferry service and his support for opening a Prince William Sound king crab test fishery, Koplin said.

“What the governor said he appreciates about Cordova is that, when we come with complaints or concerns, we have several options ready — that gives him something to work with,” Koplin said. “He doesn’t get that very often from a lot of communities: they’ll lay out their problems, but they won’t really have a fix.”

Dunleavy plans to hold a conference in May to discuss the future of renewable energy in Alaska, Koplin said.

Cordova mayor and Cordova Electric Cooperative CEO Clay Koplin at CEC’s Orca Generating Station. (Jan. 16, 2020) Photo by Zachary Snowdon Smith/The Cordova Times

Other VIPs planned to attend the conference include Rep. Louise Stutes, R-Kodiak, Alaska Department of Fish and Game Commissioner Doug Vincent-Lang and Alaska Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Corri A. Feige. Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, will address the conference in a pre-recorded statement.

This year will mark the second Electrify Alaska! Conference and the first time the conference has been convened in person. In 2020, the conference was held online as a precaution against COVID-19 transmission.

“There was a pretty resounding cry that stakeholders wanted to have it live,” Koplin said.

This year’s conference will require participants to wear masks when not eating or drinking, organizers said. The Cordova Center’s spacious rooms and its air ventilation system make it a safer venue for a conference, said CEC executive assistant Leif Stavig.

More information about the conference is available by contacting conference coordinator Kristina Baiborodova at kristina.baiborodova@gmail.com.