Wednesday | December 20, 2023

Mount Airy, NC — Just six months after unveiling a solution to reduce carbon emissions for a major produce distributer in North Carolina, Surry-Yadkin Electric Membership Corporation and Hollar & Greene Produce have been recognized with a Cleantech Innovation Award.

These awards, which are hosted by the Research Triangle Cleantech Cluster, recognize initiatives and projects that have contributed to the growing cleantech ecosystem in North Carolina. Surry-Yadkin EMC and Hollar & Greene were selected in the transportation category for providing a more energy efficient way to transport produce.

“An award for innovation or an award of any kind never crossed my mind during the project,” said Travis Bode, manager of economic development at Surry-Yadkin EMC. “Being recognized for the award is a huge honor not only for Surry-Yadkin EMC, but for the whole partnership between Hollar & Greene, North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives and our team.”

The eTRU project, which stands for electric transport refrigeration unit, uses electricity to power refrigeration units used for cold-storage shipping, instead of diesel. This new and innovative technology is the first of its kind for a North Carolina electric cooperative.

The pilot program has already seen success, with Hollar & Greene saving hundreds of dollars on fuel every month, along with reducing their carbon emissions and noise pollution.

“Projects like this are critical to putting us on a path to achieving our Brighter Future goals,” said Joseph Gadient, innovation and business development analyst for North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives. “We already have a relatively low-emission generation mix in North Carolina that is getting cleaner by the day, so any opportunity to convert fossil fuel technology to electric will save emissions both now and in the future.”

Hollar & Greene is a family-owned business that has roots in the mountains of North Carolina since 1963. They serve as one of the largest cabbage producers and distributors in the United States, with their produce traveling hundreds of miles around the country. In their selection of the eTRU project, the Research Triangle Cleantech Cluster said, “because transportation sources account for 36% of NC’s greenhouse emissions this type of program has the potential to help meet the state’s carbon targets.”

Surry-Yadkin EMC says the ability to bring innovative technology like this to one of their member-owners is major win for everyone involved.

“It’s a great feeling to make this kind of an impact with one of our commercial and industrial members and ties directly back to the cooperative principles,” said Bode. “We’re excited to see how this pilot program continues to unfold, and looking at how we can implement technology like this in our service area and hopefully beyond.”


About Surry-Yadkin Electric Membership Corporation

Surry-Yadkin EMC, a not-for-profit Touchstone Energy cooperative, was founded in 1940 by a group of local farmers with a vision to provide electricity to rural farmers and families. Its first lines were energized on Feb. 22, 1941. More than 80 years later, SYEMC serves more than 27,800 member-owner accounts in five counties, including Surry, Yadkin, Stokes, Wilkes and Forsyth.

About Hollar & Greene Produce

Hollar & Greene Produce is a family-owned cabbage business founded in 1963 in the mountains of North Carolina. The Mount Airy location, in operation from June until December each year, features over 40,000 square feet of cooling and packing facilities.

About North Carolina's Electric Cooperatives

North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives is the family of organizations supporting the state’s 26 distribution electric cooperatives, including the North Carolina Association of Electric Cooperatives, the trade association, and the North Carolina Electric Membership Corporation, the wholesale power supplier. Together with its members, North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives is building a Brighter Future for 2.5 million North Carolinians by supporting local communities and delivering new energy solutions that enhance grid reliability and protect affordability while working toward responsible sustainability goals.