Sophie Mullinax

Sophie Mullinax

BOONE — The Appalachian Energy Center will host its semiannual Sustainable Energy Speaker Series on Feb. 3 and March 16 from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. in the Plemmons Student Union, in room 420 Parkway Ballroom, to talk about community energy planning.

Speakers Dionne Delli-Gatti, director of Regulatory and Legislative Affairs and Southeast Climate and Clean Energy Initiatives at the Environmental Defense Fund, and Sophie Mullinax, the project coordinator for the Blue Horizons Project, will share progress made and lessons learned in their field of work.

Boone, Blowing Rock and Watauga County have all adopted resolutions calling for 100 percent renewable energy. On Dec. 15, 2016, the Boone Town Council approved the resolution supporting a North Carolina goal of 100 percent clean energy by 2050 and the creation of green jobs. This goal can be met with help from all members of the community, and the speakers will help propose solutions on how.

Delli-Gatti’s presentation on Feb. 3 will feature insights gained by the Environmental Defense Fund regarding barriers to clean energy adoption by communities and strategies for overcoming those barriers. It will also address work being done by the EDF to promote vehicle electrification, grid modernization, energy storage, carbon tracking and establishment of funds to support green projects.

Mullinax will discuss on March 16 how the Blue Horizons Project was formed and the effort it is making, including barriers met and advice for those looking to implement something similar.

The series is held each fall and spring semester at App.

Delli-Gatti will be the 20th event speaker since the conception of the series in September 2016. The series was created by Marie Hoepfl, associate dean of Cratis D. Williams School of Graduate Studies, and Janet Miller, outreach manager for the Appalachian Energy Center. The pair sought to deepen campus and community understanding of contemporary energy issues and spur conversation around energy topics by creating this series. The event is a joint effort of the Appalachian Energy Center and the Department of Sustainable Technology and the Built Environment.

There will be 160 seats for both talks this semester. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, visit

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