The CEC annual meeting of 2023. Photo by Wendy Ranney

On Monday evening, 165 members and additional household occupants gathered at the Cordova Center to hear Cordova Electric Cooperative’s (CEC) 2023 Annual Report and vision for the future of energy in Cordova, here members responded favorably to the 15% rate increase for service.   

Crystal Enkvist, executive director of the Alaska Power Association, an organization planning to bring its 2025 annual meeting to Cordova, spoke early in the meeting on behalf of the Cordova Electric Co-Op, saying, “CEC is known far and wide as a hub for energy innovation.”   

Innovations to the energy system are likely the reason that members of the co-op responded well to the price hike, which is due to begin this April.  

But despite rising costs across the board, CEC says it is doing everything it can to bring prices down and plan for the future. Emma Merritt, manager of finance for CEC, explained that electric bills, when adjusted for inflation, are still the lowest Cordovans have seen going back 40 years and that managing costs means reducing the town’s reliance on diesel. Currently, fuel-generated electricity accounts for 82% of generation expenses and produces only 25% of Cordova’s electrical output. 

Increased hydropower and a reduction of diesel have led to a record amount of hydroelectricity produced in Cordova in 2023. Even though recent upgrades to diesel generators have made them less expensive to maintain and more efficient to run, the cooperative’s CEO Clay Koplin explained that borrowing for this infrastructure increases rates. His vision is to continue pursuing renewables by securing more viable hydro storage stations and by selling more hydroelectricity even though electricity sales are generally decreasing due to advances in electrical efficiency. 

One way that CEC hopes to grow energy sales is by renting space for cloud service data centers to companies like Green Sparc. Koplin explained that having a local data center means stabilizing rates, reducing network communications traffic, limiting pollution, and improving internet access.  


It’s these kinds of innovations that, as Koplin noted, “put us in a position, not to fall behind, but to lead in ways that others can’t keep up with.” 

CEC billed this year’s meeting as “bigger and better” than last year’s event and followed through by providing the audience with a screening of CEC’s new short film, “Powering Cordova.” Natasha Casciano, Stephen Phillips, and Lynnette (Lohse) Wright also secured positions on the CEC Board at the election during the meeting.