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State’s Energy Needs Discussed on TV Program

BOONE–Ninety-five percent of the energy used in North Carolina comes from other states or Middle East countries.

Finding ways to lessen the state’s dependence on outside sources, conserve existing energy resources and better protect the environment are discussed on the May episode of “Appalachian Perspective” cable television show.

The 30-minute program is produced by Appalachian State University and hosted by Chancellor Francis T. Borkowski.

The episode “North Carolina’s Energy Needs” features Jeff Tiller, associate professor of technology, and Dennis Grady, a political science professor and director of the newly created Appalachian Energy Center. They have been selected to gather data for state leaders who are creating a new energy plan addressing the state’s future energy needs.

“The purpose of the plan is to inventory where we are, what our energy needs will be in the future and to make sure we have enough. We’re also looking at whether there is a way to replace some of those energy needs by being more efficient,” says Tiller.

According to Tiller and Grady, the dominant energy resource used in North Carolina is coal, which is burned to generate electricity. Petroleum, mostly used for transportation, is the second highest used energy source. Environmental damage in the mountains has been linked to

the burning of these fossil fuels. The transportation and industrial sectors consume the majority of energy in North Carolina, they say.

“To give a perspective on the importance of energy in the state’s economy, about 7 percent of the gross state product is spent on energy, which is significant,” says Grady. “About 6-7 percent of a person’s disposable income a year is spent on energy. The average person spends more than $2,000 a year on energy, so for a family of four you’re talking about $8,000 to $10,000 a year of income spent on energy.”

Tiller says that too often the public associates the word “conservation” with having to do without. Instead, he says conservation has more to do with simply eliminating energy waste—as occurs with poor design of homes and public buildings, and with driving patterns.

He says California was able to reduce its energy needs by 20 percent last year during its state’s energy crisis through conservation and efficiency methods. “If they can do that in a few months, what can we do if we have years to save energy?

Through conservation our economy benefits, the environment benefits, and homeowners pay less for energy.”

As part of gathering data for state leaders, Grady and Tiller seek input from citizens. To voice opinions and concerns, visit www.ncenergy.appstate.edu.

“Appalachian Perspective” airs locally at 10 a.m., 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. weekdays on Charter Communication’s cable channel 39, 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays on channel 2 and at various times on MTN’s channel 18. The program also airs in Raleigh, Charlotte, Kannapolis, Newport, Winston-Salem and Hickory. The episode “North Carolina’s Energy Needs” airs through the end of May.

“Appalachian Perspective” is a production of the Office of Public Affairs and the Department of Communication.

For more information, contact Producer Linda Coutant at (828) 262-2342 or coutantla@appstate.edu

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