Nantahala Power and Light
Nantahala Power and Light was formed in 1929 by the Aluminum Company of America (ALCOA). Alcoa had been accumulating land and rights to develop hydro power in the Western North Carolina/Eastern Tennessee region, and in the 1920s had completed the Tapoco Project to support its smelting operation in Alcoa, TN, near Maryville. But while Tapoco was developed solely to support Alcoa's manufacturing operations, NP&L was formed as a public utility, to bring "power to the masses". This area of North Carolina was, and remains so today, a rural, sparsely populated area, and NP&L took over some developments and built others to supply power to the locals. They eventually created an all-hydro power source of around 100 megawatts.
NP&L continued as an Alcoa subsidiary for years, licensing some of the develpments with the FERC in the 1980s. Then Alcoa apparently decided to get out of the public utility business, and sold NP&L to Duke Power in 1988. NP&L now operates as a subsidiary of Duke Energy, but some of the information we have seen implies that Duke has an "agreement" with North Carolina to keep the power from NP&L's developments local. Now, how they do that AND do scheduled releases to keep recreational interests happy is beyond me, but I suppose with some accounting magic it all works out on paper. Supposedly the rates for electricity in this area are very good (I don't know... I don't live there!) because it is "all hydro". But, the developments no longer supply enough power: a recent winter peak demand was 270 or so megawatts. But still, 100 megawatts of hydro is a lot of coal not burned, so here's hoping they will continue well into the future.
One map we saw listed NP&L's service area as all or portions of Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Jackson, Macon, and Swain counties, all in North Carolina. The main basins involved are the Little Tennessee and the Tuckasegee Rivers, and the Hiwassee River to a lesser extent. These are all part of the Tennessee River basin, so how Duke ended up with NP&L instead of TVA is probably an interesting story in itself! One border of the project area is the Eastern Continental Divide; the Toxaway River and Lake Toxaway, just to the southeast of Thorpe/Glenville Lake, are part of the Savannah River basin.
We had heard of Thorpe and Nantahala Dams, had seen them on the map, even made a brief abortive attempt to find Nantahala when we went to Fontana the first time, but we were not aware of the rest of them until one of us stumbled across something about the Dillsboro Dam. The more we read, the more dams popped up! Finally we decided, OK, we have to do a quest to bag these guys! In June of 2006, off we went to Franklin, NC on our NP&L Quest Version 1.
So, without further ado...

Nantahala Power and Light's Dams
Bryson Dam
Dillsboro Dam
Franklin Dam
aka Porters Bend Dam
East Fork Tuckasegee River Project
West Fork Tuckasegee River Project
Nantahala Dam
Mission Dam
Queens Creek Dam
... and more
NP&L Quest #1 Trip Report