Sophie Mullinax, Project Coordinator for the Blue Horizons Project
The Blue Horizons Project: Community Energy Planning in Action
The Blue Horizons Project was developed by the Energy Innovation Task Force (EITF) in the Asheville area to achieve two primary goals: 1) transition the Duke Energy Progress West Region to a cleaner, more affordable, and smarter energy future and 2) avoid or delay the construction of a new gas-fired peaker power plant planned for 2023. First convened in 2016, this innovative partnership includes Buncombe County, the City of Asheville, Duke Energy, local businesses, community organizations and individuals. In just three years, the group weatherized 650 low-income homes, supported reduced energy consumption in over 100 businesses, helped drive up enrollment in local energy-efficiency programs, and, as a result, indefinitely postponed the planned power plant. The work of the Blue Horizons Project is currently guided by the Blue Horizons Project Community Council, which replaced the EITF in 2020. The current goals are to support the community-wide transition to clean energy in support of municipal 100% renewable energy resolutions by 2042.
Sophie Mullinax is the Project Coordinator for the Blue Horizons Project and will discuss how the coalition formed and its efforts to date, including barriers met and advice for those looking to implement something similar.
About Sophie Mullinax
Sophie Mullinax is the Blue Horizons Project Coordinator, stepping into this role at its launch in March 2018. She has lived in Asheville off and on since 2001 when she moved there with her family from New York City. After nine years in Washington, DC working in nonprofit management and energy-efficiency programming, the Blue Horizons Project called her home to work on clean energy and energy efficiency in the mountains where she grew up. Sophie lives in Asheville with her husband, Jerick Wilson, a high school teacher, and their one-year-old daughter.
About the Sustainable Energy Speaker Series
The Sustainable Energy Speaker Series was created to deepen campus and community understanding of contemporary energy issues and spur conversation around energy topics. The series is a joint effort of the Appalachian Energy Center and the Department of Sustainable Technology and the Built Environment.