Thursday, October 4, 2007

Energy Issues on the Brain

We're getting ready for the "Close to Home" fundraiser that's starting on Monday (10/8). Local is what KAXE does best, and our fundraiser will highlight the people of Northern Minnesota.

Scott and I are thinking about energy issues in terms of next week's Morning Show. On Monday morning, he and I will be talking to Mike Demchik. Mike is an Assistant Professor of Forestry at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. Mike participated in a Wood Biomass conference in northern MN last August. Many are getting interested in the ideas of using trees and other forest resources for energy. But there are still unanswered questions about the economics and forest management options required to create a sustainable source of energy from wood. Mike will bring us up to date on the current thinking about the potential for using wood for energy.

We are also working on a story about a couple of KAXE members, Janet and Gary Hill, who live on Raspberry Island in McGregor. They moved there full time in 2006 and live off the grid, using solar, wood and some propane.

Did you know that every hour, more energy from sunlight strikes the Earth than is consumed worldwide in a year? The U.S. Deptartment of Energy has estimated that a net 10 percent-efficient solar energy farm covering 1.6 percent of the U.S. land area (roughly the size of Iowa) would meet the nation's ENTIRE domestic energy needs!

John Bauer and I took our microphones and cameras and went for a visit to Janet and Gary's "off the grid" life. We got the full tour of their beautiful island - chickens and all. You'll be able to hear the first of this tour next week on the Morning Show.

Janet and Gary donated some solar panels to KAXE and we're hoping to get them installed sometime soon. A radio station takes a lot of power, so it might not make a huge difference in the scope of things, but it's a start.

Do you use alternative energy sources? Are you thinking about it? What stops you?

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