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?

OPEN SEASON: Tailgate market season is getting into full swing in Western North Carolina, with new markets opening and others celebrating milestones.

Tailgate market season is here: Where to get the goods

(Go to the bottom of this article for a listing of local tailgate markets) Winter has finally loosened its grip on Western North Carolina, and that means tailgate market season is underway. While there is still some time before the full abundance of the growing season hits the markets, many farmers are already selling their […]

MAKE DO AND MEND: Volunteers Ken Huck, left, and Tom Harter helped an attendee repair a broken pot handle at the first WNC Repair Café, held earlier this year. In addition to saving money and building new skills, the workshops keep repairable objects out of the landfill, says Dan Hettinger, who leads the effort locally. Photo courtesy of Dan Hettinger

WNC Repair Café returns to Living Web Farms

Got a broken toaster or sewing machine? Maybe a lawnmower that won’t crank after its winter hibernation? Check out the WNC Repair Café on Tuesday, April 24 in Hendersonville. At the free event, which is run by the local incarnation of a global network, residents can get help fixing common items, resulting in saving money and keeping repairable objects out of the landfill.

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.