Michael Karp is running for the OPALCO board, and he has our vote and full support. Michael is uniquely qualified for the OPALCO board. He has been pioneering innovative and successful energy efficiency, renewable energy and other programs for the past 35 years in Washington state and throughout the USA. He is a founding board member of the 30-year-old Northwest Energy Coalition, a consortium of over 100 consumer public interest and utilities in the four northwest states. Currently he is the founder and President and CEO of A World Institute for a Sustainable Humanity, and for the past 20 years has served as a consultant representing governments and non-profits on public interest power sector issues.
The power sector in the Pacific Northwest is undergoing a significant change. Once abundant hydropower resources are stretched thinner and thinner and OPALCO’s guaranteed access to cheap hydropower is now capped at 2011 levels. Energy efficiency and cost-effective renewables region-wide have long served a key role in meeting increasing demands for electricity service in the Northwest, but OPALCO has been timid in investing in local economy through rate-based investments of energy efficiency and local energy generation.
As OPALCO members, we need to prioritize and ramp up these efforts to face the new pressing challenge of rising rates (“Tier 2” rates) and limited legacy hydroelectricity by updating OPALCO’s “story” and business model, redesigning tariff structure (instead of just passing on costs by raising rates across the board), and refocusing the board’s efforts towards its core business of efficiently and economically delivering energy services in the face of unprecedented uncertainties. Michael has the vision, solid energy background, the network and respect of professional colleagues, and years of Pacific Northwest power sector management, board and policy experience needed at this critical time. We are very lucky to have people like him in our county. Let’s elect him to represent us on the OPALCO board.
Chom and Chris Greacen