SMALL YET MIGHTY: The power line serving an emergency radio tower atop Mount Sterling near Cataloochee experienced frequent outages related to bad weather and downed trees, so Duke Energy decided last year to replace it with a self-contained microgrid consisting of a solar array and battery system. Photo courtesy of Duke Energy

Storing power key to expanding use of renewable energy

The success of the county’s and city’s goals to increase their use of renewable energy, say local experts, hinges on the availability of battery storage — and lots of it. With one very small local battery installation under its utility belt, Duke Energy Progress is developing two storage projects in Western North Carolina — but will those and future projects be large enough to make a meaningful difference?

TOOLING AROUND: At an Oct. 21 community sharpening event at the Asheville Tool Library, participants learned to sharpen blades on implements ranging from kitchen knives to chainsaws. The tool library will celebrate its second anniversary this month. Photo by Travis Smith

Nicholas Letts brought the sharing economy to Asheville with tool library

While reducing the environmental impact of purchasing tools that member households may need only infrequently is a key goal for the Asheville Tool Library, the nonprofit has an even bigger vision. Founder Nicholas Letts says he hopes the library levels the economic playing field by reducing expenses and promoting collaboration.