Peter Hallgren – Bio

Occupation/Employer: Retired City Administrator, City of Delta Junction

Education: Carleton College, Bachelor of Arts, University of Iowa College of Law, JD

Personal interests/hobbies: I am a voracious reader and love hiking, camping, firearms, travel and cruises. I am an NRA life member and former rifle and pistol competitor and instructor. I also love racing my Pontiac Solstice in Sports Car Club of America autocross and iRace computer racing.

Organization affiliation: Mayor, Delta Junction (2012-2017); City Council Member, Delta Junction City Council (2007-present); Alaska Bar Association (1972-present); Life Member, NRA and Delta Sportsman’s Associations; Fort Greely Restoration Advisory Board (2003-present); Delta Christian Center Church member

Why are you interested in running for a seat on GVEA’s board?

Our lives are critically dependent on electricity that is economically and responsibly produced, and reliably delivered at affordable cost to our Cooperative member-owners, both today and with an eye to the future. That is simply said, but extremely complicated to achieve. I have 43 years of high level municipal Board and executive experience in providing public services, including 20 years directly pertaining to the municipally owned electric utility in Sitka. I am in my 23rd consecutive year providing public service in Delta, first as City Administrator, and for the last 15 years on the City Council, with five years as Mayor. Delta City Council members receive no wage or stipend, it’s purely public service. Experience and dedication combined with common sense and some success explains why I believe that I can be a useful and productive addition to the Board. I would appreciate your vote.

What business, technical and governance knowledge, skills and experience will you bring to GVEA’s Board of Directors?

I have 43 years experience with Alaska governing boards (including 6 years State Personnel Board and  Public Employees Retirement System Board). After 20 years with Sitka, I moved my family to Delta Junction in 1999 to work as City Administrator on BRAC95, then stayed for Missile Defense.  I retired after 8 years and have been elected to the City Council for the last 15 (including 5 as Mayor and 4 as Deputy Mayor).  Currently, my portfolio as Councilman is “at large”, allowing me to work on important current issues. My experience in Sitka is directly relevant in that Sitka owns/operates their electric utility, with the Assembly acting as the board. With a decade as Municipal Attorney, and another decade as Assemblyman and Mayor, I was involved in all discussions and decisions including planning, bond financing, permitting, bidding, construction, and operation of the $50 million+ Green Lake Dam hydro-electric facility.

What do you perceive as your role and responsibilities as a GVEA Director?

Knowledge, experience, preparation, and common sense hallmark good Directors.  Abiding by the rules/policies, and acting with collegiality and civility is essential.  Twenty-five years as elected Assemblyman, Councilman, and Mayor of two Alaska Cities, provide extensive current, relevant experience of hiring and evaluating CEOs.  Additionally eighteen years as an at-will Municipal Attorney, Municipal Administrator, and Interim Manager give me clear understanding of appropriate authority distinctions.     The Board establishes strategic goals, analyzes/approves policies and plans to accomplish those goals.  Four decades of labor on multi-million dollar balanced municipal budgets proves dollars determine the difference between mere goals and achievable accomplishment. 

What specific things would you like to accomplish as a GVEA Director?

I will gladly serve in any capacity the Board finds me useful.  My service in Sitka taught me the incredible complexity of operating an electric utility, and the need for forward thinking Directors. I would seek to make GVEA’s current operation more efficient, along with a focus on determining and meeting future needs with affordable and reliable service.  The good news: GVEA is well run and is currently meeting this goal, but affordability is always a major determinant with current residential rates now exceeding 25.6¢/kWh. In 2019,  91% of GVEA power came from non-renewable fuels with 43% of all power from Alaska coal, relatively inexpensive, but high in co2 emissionsOne GVEA coal plant’s permits expire in 2024 and the Board will have to make some major decisions about coal and co2 emissions within the next two years, all within the affordability and reliability framework. 

What do you think should be GVEA’s energy goals and objectives?

I would want to continue in the original and in-alterable goal: purchasing/producing energy, and distributing sufficient, affordable, and reliable electric power to the Interior. Our modern civilization in the Interior, our jobs and businesses, our homes, schools and hospitals are dependent upon GVEA continually meeting those goals.  We can strive to do additional things to improve our community but must never fail in our core responsibility. I am greatly experienced in working on difficult issues.  I am retired, but not tired.  I value the available education and would work as an interested, committed, prepared and accountable Director. For decades through today, my schedule has included detailed preparation for at least 2 evening meetings per month. I am prepared, God willing, to devote the average 40 hours a month requested of Directors.  (Note: Delta Council Members, including Mayor, work for no pay or stipend qualifying us as true “Public Servants”.)

What would you do to position GVEA for the future? 

Of the thousands of United States Electrical Cooperatives, few actually generate power.   Attached to the national power grid, they purchase and distribute power.  Like Sitka, GVEA generates significant portions of its own power.  That adds considerable complexity, but opens opportunity.  Since technology is advancing rapidly, GVEA should continue its experiments in solar and wind.  Keep a long eye on biggies like pumped storage hydro.  But even little details such as LED lighting advances made a big difference.   An area of great potential advancement is making battery storage sufficiently efficient to store and mediate wind and solar.  Our Future’s Open.