New WRAL Documentary Looks at Debate Over Alternative Energy Sources

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Focal Point: “Power Shift”
New WRAL Documentary Looks at Debate Over Alternative Energy Sources

Airs Thursday Dec 4, 2008, 7pm

 “When we talk about alternative energy, it cannot be talk. It has to be followed by action.”
–Dianna Paul, Wind power developer

Focal Point Skyrocketing fuel prices and concerns over climate change have both government and business leaders looking for alternative sources of energy. WRAL’s new Focal Point documentary “Power Shift” will look at the shift in public and political opinion on the issue of offshore drilling.  It will examine the quiet shift to alternative fuels and energy as the drilling debate dominates the headlines.  The documentary is hosted by WRAL-TV Anchor Bill Leslie and airs on Thursday, December 4, 2008 at 7pm on WRAL-TV.

Focal Point: Power Shift reveals both the promise and the pitfalls of alternative energy production and examines the feasibility of a total transition from traditional fuel and energy sources to renewable and sustainable ones in our state.

The North Carolina News Network recently produced a Beyond the Headlines series “Energy in the 21st Century” about alternative energy in NC. Listen here.

While North Carolina is at the center of the debate over more offshore drilling for oil and natural gas, entrepreneurs and researchers are developing alternative transportation fuels in our state including ethanol and biodiesel.  They’re also breaking new ground in developing alternative, renewable energy sources to generate electricity, including solar, wind, and methane from animal waste and landfills.

The General Assembly passed legislation in 2007 requiring our state’s major utilities to produce 12.5% of their energy from renewable sources by 2021. Duke Power and Progress Energy have responded by making major investments in alternative energy and have contracted with small entrepreneurial companies to generate electricity from alternative, renewable sources. 

But there are many roadblocks on the path to sustainable and renewable energy. 

Developing alternative energy is expensive. Producers can’t compete in the marketplace with the cheap, abundant energy produced by nuclear and coal plants.

Ethanol production puts pressure on food prices, uses massive amounts of water and can cause its own pollution issues. Solar and wind power are intermittent. And the “not in my backyard” mentality has blocked two commercial wind projects in our state.

Focal Point
“Power Shift” is the latest episode in the WRAL documentary series called Focal Point.  These in-depth news documentaries focus on a single topic, bringing depth and clarity to complicated issues facing North Carolina.  From North Carolina’s economy and environment, to health care and race relations – Focal Point takes viewers inside the lives of the people most affected.  Focal Point tackles the tough questions with leaders and policymakers who have the power to effect change.  WRAL News anchors, including David Crabtree, Pam Saulsby, Bill Leslie, Gerald Owens and Debra Morgan, host the series.  Six to eight new episodes of Focal Point will be produced each year. 

Thanks to WRAL-TV’s Clay Johnson for this capcom story.

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