BOONE, N.C. — In less than two years, New River Light and Power (NRLP), the utility owned and operated by Appalachian State University, will begin purchasing power from NTE Carolinas LLC (NTE).
According to NRLP General Manager Ed Miller, the wholesale power agreement, effective in January 2022, “aims to provide choice, cost savings, conservation incentives and innovative rate structures for its customers and the university.”
“Under the NTE contract,” Miller said, “we will be able to create new, innovative rate structures, such as time-of-use rates, so our customers will have more control and choice over their energy consumption and spending. Additionally, we will no longer be restricted in how much solar can be put on our system.”
“Creating the partnership with NTE was the essential step needed for Appalachian to accelerate efforts to reach climate neutrality related to purchased electricity,” said Dr. Lee Ball, Appalachian’s chief sustainability officer. “With the new NTE partnership, the university will no longer have limitations regarding the purchase and development of renewable energy,” Ball said.
Ball continued, sharing how the NTE partnerships will factor into Appalachian’s new Climate Action Plan: “Our climate action planning process focuses on determining how to finance the additional costs associated with adding significantly more renewable energy to the university’s energy portfolio. Additional benefits of the NTE partnership allow NRLP to offer its customers, including the town of Boone, a source of renewable energy that can help them achieve their own climate neutrality goals.”
Miller said, “We are not tied to one generating facility or one source of energy under this contract. With NTE, we will have the ability to go out and purchase energy from other sources in the marketplace, including renewable energy. Our customers have told us they want a choice in where their energy comes from and we are able to offer that under our new agreement.”
Miller shared that a 10% cost reduction has been passed along to NRLP customers since March 2019, “and we expect to see additional cost savings of between 5% and 7% for our customers under our new agreement.”
NRLP serves nearly 8,500 residential and commercial customers who reside in and near the town of Boone. The utility was the fifth lowest cost provider in the state, on average, for residential customers in 2018, according to U.S. Energy Information Administration data.
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About Appalachian’s New River Light and Power
For more than 100 years, Appalachian State University’s New River Light and Power (NRLP) — a nonprofit electric utility operated by the Division of Business Affairs — has provided power to Western North Carolina residents. Today, NRLP serves nearly 8,500 residential and commercial customers who reside in and near the town of Boone. In January 2022, the utility will begin purchasing its electricity from Carolina Power Partners — a partnership that opens greater renewable energy opportunities. In partnership with Appalachian’s Office of Sustainability, Facilities Operations and Renewable Energy Initiative, NRLP has assisted with various energy efficiency projects across campus, including installing solar panels and providing funding for the Broyhill Wind Turbine located on Bodenheimer Drive. The utility holds the American Public Power Association’s highest Reliable Public Power Provider (RP3) designation for providing reliable and safe electric service, and approximately $650,000 of its budget is reserved annually for contributions to Appalachian’s general scholarship fund. Learn more at https://nrlp.appstate.edu.
About Appalachian State University
As the premier public undergraduate institution in the Southeast, Appalachian State University prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The Appalachian Experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and to embrace diversity and difference. Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Appalachian is one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina System. Appalachian enrolls nearly 21,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.