DOE official, N.C. Lt. Gov. to keynote summit on energy crisis Nov. 15

N.C. Lt. Gov. Beverly Perdue and Katharine Ann Fredriksen of the U.S. Department of Energy are among the federal, state and local officials scheduled to take part in a daylong summit on the nation’s energy crisis Wednesday, Nov. 15, at Western Carolina University.

N.C. Lt. Gov. Beverly Perdue (above) and Katharine Ann Fredriksen of the U.S. Department of Energy (below) will be the keynote speakers at WCU's energy crisis summit Nov. 15.

N.C. Lt. Gov. Beverly Perdue (above) and Katharine Ann Fredriksen of the U.S. Department of Energy (below) will be the keynote speakers at WCU’s energy crisis summit Nov. 15.

Fredriksen, principal deputy assistant secretary for the Office of Policy and International Affairs at the Department of Energy, will speak on “Toward Energy Independence,” while Perdue will address the topic “North Carolina Looks to the Future.” Both women are scheduled to speak during the luncheon keynote session of the “Resolving the Energy Crisis” summit, sponsored by WCU’s Public Policy Institute.

“With every visit to the gas pump, it is impossible not to be reminded about the rising cost of oil and the mounting energy crisis,” said Gordon Mercer , director of the Public Policy Institute. “With this crisis, however, comes tremendous opportunity, as the promise of new technology and alternative sources of fuel offers a chance for monumental change.”

Bringing together concerned citizens, business leaders, and representatives from governments and other organizations to focus on issues of energy conservation is an important first step toward energy independence, Mercer said.

Speakers during an opening session on cooperation between local governments and businesses include Terry Albrecht, director of the Waste Reduction Partners Program at Land-of-Sky Regional Council; Bill Eaker of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Clean Cities Program; Asheville City Manager Gary Jackson; and Ken Maxwell, community relations manager with Progress Energy.

The topic of renewable and alternative energy will be discussed by Michael Duvall, director of economic development for the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians; Maggy Inman, vice president of N.C. GreenPower; alternative fuels program manager Anne Tazewell of the N.C. Solar Center; and Timm Muth, director of the Jackson County Green Energy Park.

Speakers on the topic of energy independence include Ivan Urlaub, director of the N.C. Sustainable Energy Association; Joy Franklin of the Asheville Citizen-Times; Larry Shirley, director of the N.C. State Energy Office; and George Ford of WCU’s Kimmel School of Construction Management, Engineering and Technology.

Following the luncheon keynote addresses by Fredriksen and Perdue, the summit will conclude with an open panel discussion aimed at identifying possible solutions for the energy crisis.

Examples of some of the latest alternative-fueled and advanced technology vehicles will be on display throughout the summit, including gas-electric hybrids, all-electric cars, and vehicles running on biodiesel, ethanol and compressed natural gas.

Registration for the summit is currently under way. The registration fee of $25 includes lunch, refreshments and materials. For more information or to register, contact the Public Policy Institute at (828) 227-2086 or (828) 227-2249, or click on the Web at (link no longer active).