For over two decades, Appalachian has been at the forefront of energy and sustainability issues with research and educational programs engaging industry partners, students, faculty and the public. The program began with a NASA MOD-1 Windmill, the world's then largest wind turbine, on Howard's Knob (1979-1983). Since then Appalachian has become a recognized national leader in renewable energy, sustainable development and building science.

The Energy Center

The Energy Center explores energy issues as related to building science, renewable energy, public policy and economic development with the most notable accomplishments including authorship of the North Carolina Energy Plan. Partnering with leaders in the state, The Energy Center maintains working relationships with the N.C. Fuel Cell Alliance (NCFCA); the Renewable Energy for Economic Development (REED) Alliance; the University of North Carolina A & T University Center for Energy Research Technology (CERT); and the North Carolina State University Solar Center. The Energy Center also sponsored the first "Zero Energy Home" in North Carolina, by contributing program coordination and technical support for the innovative and affordable passive solar Habitat for Humanity House in Hickory, N.C.

The North Carolina Small Wind Initiative

The North Carolina Small Wind Initiative (SWI) is a collaborative research and demonstration project supported by Appalachian's Department of Technology, North Carolina State Energy Office, TVA and the U.S. Department of Energy. Growing out of several years of wind energy research, the SWI is assessing the performance of small wind technology in the region and is providing interested advice and information about small wind technology, wind resource assessment, potential energy production, and the economics of wind energy.

The SWI is recognized nation-wide within the industry for Small Wind Research and Demonstration Site on Beech Mountain, testing state of the art turbine technology and demonstrating wind systems currently available on the American Marketplace. This facility features six small wind turbine systems suitable for residential, farm, or business applications and provides a truly unique hands on training experience with educational workshops and seminars.

QEP Global Learning


Dr. Nicole Bennett
Interim Director, Research Institute for Environment, Energy and Economics
401 Academy Street
234 IG Greer Hall
Appalachian State University
ASU Box 32131
Boone, NC 28608

ph: (828) 262-2764
fax: (828) 262-6553