Meeting Minutes – September 15, 2021

Submitted by Diane Eckberg

The September 14, 2021 meeting was called to order at the Boone Courtyard Marriott by President Jim Street at 7:40 a.m.  There 19 in person and 2 Zoom attendees.  Guest Reggie Hassler again joined us at the Courtyard Marriott.

After the Pledge of Allegiance, Lane Robinson presided over the 50/50 drawing, Happy Dollars and the morning’s joke.

Announcements

Lynne Mason provided an update on the River Cleanup.  Fourteen members cleaned up 10+ bags of trash and debris.  The Interact Club worked on another section of the New River, gathering 9 bags.  Lynne will be communicating with the Town of Boone as both groups found petroleum related waste, and the Interacters discovered shredded tires.

Lynne also reminded the Club that the Blood Drive will be on Tuesday, October 5, 2021 from about 1 to 6 p.m.  Sign up to donate at https://www.redcrossblood.org/give.html/find-drive.  A sign up sheet to work the drive to follow.

The Valle Fair will be another Club volunteer opportunity.  Lynne will provide information via email to sign up for Friday, October 15, 2021 set up and other jobs on Saturday, October 16.

Jim Street reminded everyone that assistance with speaker ideas/contacts is needed.  Contact Brian Irving with your suggestions.

Jim also advised that there will be some opportunities to volunteer at Western Youth Network.  WYN is the recipient of the Club’s District/Club matching grant this year.

Program

President Elect Brian Irving introduced Ed Miller, General Manager, New River Light and Power Company (NRLP), who spoke about NRLP’s Green Initiatives (https://nrlp.appstate.edu/greenpower).

NRLP is a 100+ year old power company started by and for ASU.  Its current service footprint is roughly the campus, downtown Boone and some areas of Watauga County.  NRLP has supported local sustainable energy projects including the ASU windmill, solar panels and the car charging station on Depot Street.

All of NRLP’s power is purchased.  Starting in January, 2022, NRLP is entering into an agreement with Carolina Power Partners for the purchase of its power.  This power is derived from natural gas, but there will be an option to substitute some power from renewable energy.  Customers will have lower rates under the new agreement, cost savings that NRLP hopes will be reinvested in renewable energy blocks derived from hydropower facilities at the Little Tennessee and Cheoah Rivers. 

The average NRLP residential customer uses 750 kWh of power each month. If a customer chooses to participate in the Green Initiative, blocks of 250 kWh derived from the hydropower source can be purchased for $5 each per month.  The commitment to purchase the renewable energy blocks is a month to month commitment for both residential and commercial customers.

Statistically, more than 80% of NRLP’s customers want renewable energy, and 76% would pay more for it.  Next year, NRLP expects that 5% of the power it sells will be renewable energy.  The Town, County, ASU and its students are all committing to using more renewable energy.

In addition to discussing NRLP’s Green Initiative, Mr. Miller spoke about NRLP’s $6.5 million in infrastructure improvements:  

  • Replacing a substation for higher transmission capacity
  • A new control system to monitor circuits resulting in greater reliability (to be completed by year end)
  • Phasing in buried lines (and cooperating with other utilities when possible)
  • Enhancing the consumer metrics available from automated metering systems

After a lively Q & A session and reciting the 4 Way Test, President Jim Street adjourned the meeting at 8:30 a.m.

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