A year ago gas prices reached four dollars per gallon and consumers were calling for alternative sources of energy. Monday at UNCW, Representative Mike McIntyre hosted an alternative energy summit; an effort to keep southeastern North Carolina on the cutting edge of cleaner, greener fuels. “We've got to be preparing now for the future and how to deal with getting away from being dependent on foreign oil,” said McIntyre. Summit speakers mentioned the potential energy benefits in the ocean, biofuels, and solar power that are abundant in our area. McIntyre said, “It can help provide jobs for people who can go to work and help convert these resources into energy for practical use.” Demonstrations are already taking place locally. The North Carolina Farm Center has received funding to show the effectiveness of Biochar, a product to help crops grow in sandy soil. “That whole marketing of Biochar, would be a wonderful clean, green economy for North Carolina,” described Richard Perritt of the NC Farm Center for Innovation & Sustainability. Progress Energy has already started work on a solar powered plant off of Highway 421, in response to a law requiring utility providers to start producing renewable energy sources. “It means there are a lot of opportunities. It also means that our children will live a lot cleaner life than we have been living,” added NC Farm Center for Innovation & Sustainability’s Roger Sheats. Brunswick Community College and UNCW are one of leaders in the research on alternative fuels. The two colleges are conducting experiments that would turn algae, found in local bogs and swamps, into a source of energy.
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