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      Charleston area doing its part in the fight for energy independence

      Solar panels at Blackbaud Stadium. (Brian Troutman/WCIV)

      Environmentally Challenged: By Brian Troutman

      Seems clean, green energy is becoming more and more popular in the Lowcountry.

      Recently Clemson University began work on a wind turbine testing facility at the old Navy base. In February, the City of North Charleston placed wind turbines atop city hall. But it doesn't stop there. Green energy has become increasingly popular in the Lowcountry not just with local businesses and local government, but also with homeowners.

      Heck, last week on a trip to the Charleston Maritime Center, I saw a sailboat covered in solar panels.

      Have you been to Boeing's facility in North Charleston? The facility officially became the largest solar facility in the Southeast in December of 2011 with 10 acres of solar panels covering the roof of the final assembly building at the plant. There are also solar panels on the tarmac.

      The Charleston area, it would seem, is becoming or has already become a leader in clean, green energy -- not just by the volume of green energy practices that can be found, but also by early involvement of a handful of local companies and organizations.

      Among those, Blackbaud.

      I was quite surprised on a recent trip to Blackbaud Stadium to find large solar panels within feet of the field. Ironically, the stadium is not powered by the Battery. It's powered by solar energy.

      In 2008 Charleston Battery officials announced the instillation of the some 60 or more solar panels with the goal of eliminating about 12 tons of carbon dioxide a year.

      In a nutshell, knowing of the area's movement in harnessing green energy and knowing that work at Blackbaud Stadium may have been helped influence others to make the move, makes me feel good about the future.

      It was just a couple of weeks ago that Rep. Tim Scott of Charleston met with constituents at a local gas station and emphasized the importance of reducing the price of energy, looking for alternatives to oil and working to help America establish energy independence.

      It would seem Charleston is taking step-after-step in the right direction.

      * Environmentally Challenged is the blog of ABC News 4 New Media Manager Brian Troutman. It is op-ed in nature and provides Troutman's thoughts on the environment, environmental issues and conservation. If you would like to reach Troutman, you can do so by email at btroutman@abcnews4.com.

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