More Stuff You Should Know
(June 1, 2015) Before I get into anything too serious, let me just say what a great Commodore's Reception we had on Preakness Day. Hats off (and there were many that day) to Carole Vilardo, the rest of her Special Events Committee as well as Bill Kocan and the EYC staff. Great party! Thank you so much for making my last Commodore's Reception such a hit!
Now for some news: 1) Solar Power coming to EYC; 2) By-Laws Committee being formed; 3) Nominating Committee about to get going. Everyone else in the Club has been getting ready for the heavy part of boating season but your Executive Board has been busy at work.
Solar Power: I informed the members several months ago that we were looking into taking advantage of the tremendous offers of solar options to power the Club. While we are very happy to help the environment and reduce our carbon footprint, the Board was adamant that we would not do anything that was not in the financial interest of the Club... in other words, we would not pay extra for the benefit of utilizing solar power.
While my career is focused around energy policy, I knew that we needed someone who would organize and execute on a thorough review of our energy options. For this reason, I asked our Rear Commodore, Ed Wells (aka, "Vinny") to select at team to review the options. The team (Virginia Tippie, Steve Schaub, Kurt Karsten, Bill Kocan) looked at a variety of offers ranging from solar panels on the roof, purchasing solar power directly, to leasing solar panels from a third party. Ed and his team finally focused on an offer from a company called RER which specializes in Solar Power options for "not for profit" entities like schools.
The initial offer was to have RER and investors lease land for a solar field which would accommodate enough panels to power all of EYC's current needs as well as the needs of another buyer. The lease structure was for 20 years at rates that would be below our current BGE rate but which would go up slightly over time. Given that power prices escalate on an average of 3.5% a year, the prices we would be paying throughout the life of the contract would be lower than rates we could expect to pay from BGE.
Sound too good to be true? Well, some Board members thought so as well and we did some more digging. The basis of the costs and the reasons they are so attractive have to do with some of the government subsidies offered as well as the expectation the investors in the project hope to attain over time. Among other things, there is a growing market for a thing called "Solar Energy Renewable Certificate" which will provide the investors additional revenue. It is their expectation of SREC revenue and subsidies from the State and Federal Government that allows RER and the investors to offer us the terms we have.
Still, some Board members were concerned with making such a long-term commitment on behalf of the Club. Was it not possible that, instead of energy prices going up over time, that they could go down and the contract could be "out of the money"... paying more than the market down the road? The majority of the Board recognized such a future was a possibility but not one that had been experienced in the last one hundred years of electricity prices. As a consequence, a divided Board agreed (4-2) to enter into a "Power Purchase Agreement" with RER. Once we have final details, we will let you know. From my perspective, this is a good deal. We have predictable power prices for 20 years that are below current market and the market expected in the future. The "icing" on this budgetary picture: EYC will probably be the first Yacht Club on the Bay who can say that we provide for all of our power through Solar.
By-Laws Committee: Personally, I am not a fan of changing the By-Laws all the time. It is kind of our "Constitution" and therefore should not need yearly tinkering. This year, however, there are some clean-up changes necessary to the description of some of the Committees and we may need to tackle changes that have been suggested of the Nominating Process. Additionally, some have suggested that there are other items that could be contemplated but that will be discussed as this committee gets underway and talks with you, the Members, about your ideas. I am in the midst of finalizing the composition of this committee so look for names of members serving and ways to communicate with them in upcoming notices.
Nominating Committee: We are getting this process off the ground a bit earlier and, as called for in the By-Laws, immediate Past Commodore David Malkin is populating this Committee. He presented the Board with his plans for members to represent a broad range of interests within EYC and it is hoped that this Committee can meet with as many members as possible as it works to select a new Commodore and a new Board for approval by the Members at the Annual Meeting. The timing for finalization of this Committee selection is imminent so, similar to By-Laws, look for notices soon.
Well, that is a lot of ground to cover but I wanted you to be aware of the important work that has been done to date and which remains to be done. Our social calendar at the Club is somewhat light this month but that is as it should be as we get into the boating season. We have a great barbeque and music arrange for Father's Day so please come celebrate it even if you aren't a father. Regardless, please find some time to get out on the water. These truly are the times when we live in "The Land of Pleasant Living".