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Former Bethel mayor leads Nuvista coop

Posted: January 5, 2014 - 1:04am

BETHEL — A former Bethel mayor has been chosen to lead Nuvista Light and Electric Cooperative, a group that was created to generate energy for a sustainable future.

Tiffany Zulkosky, 29, became the group’s new executive director last month, KYUK reported.

The group seeks to become a power producer, which would sell cheaper electricity to retail utilities, which then sell to customers.

“We feel it so strongly, whether it’s our monthly bills or people’s ability to go out an subsist, just to be able to maintain the way of life we’ve had in the Y-K Delta, in Western Alaska in general,” Zulkosky said. “I think it’s really important that we identify what are feasible and sustainable opportunities for us to stabilize some of those volatile prices and impacts so that we can continue to be in an area where our family and our ancestors have existed for generations.”

She said the coop is trying to identify energy projects that could have benefits for both the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta and the Bristol Bay region.

One of those is a hydroelectric dam at Chikuminuk Lake, located between Bethel and Dillingham in the Wood Tikchik State Park.

Even though the Legislature has given $10 million to study the project, it’s been stalled because uses of a state park don’t mesh with a dam. For it to proceed, the Legislature will have to change language in the state law.

Zulkosky hopes that happens, but said that’s not their only project. The coop is tasked with looking at all possible options to bring power costs down.

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