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New Study Finds 25,000 Arkansans Working in the Advanced Energy Economy

Arkansas Advanced Energy Foundation // January 13, 2015

FOR RELEASE: January 13, 2015

Contacts: Shelly Baron, 501-537-0190 or shelly@arkansasadvancedenergyfoundation.org
Steve Patterson, 501-537-0190 or steve@arkansasadvancedenergyfoundation.org

Arkansas Advanced Energy Foundation Releases Report Showing Sector’s Impact on State Economy

Little Rock, AR – The development of innovative technologies to help meet America’s energy demands has allowed the emergence of an advanced energy sector that now accounts for the employment of more than 25,000 Arkansans, according to a new study released by the Arkansas Advanced Energy Foundation (AAEF) this week.

“The Economic Impact of Advanced Energy in Arkansas: A Survey of Business Activity in 2014”, authored by local economist James Metzger, CEO of HISTECON Associates identified more than 770 advanced energy companies doing business in Arkansas.  These companies report annual sales of more than $1.7 billion and employ about 16,000 workers.  Another 9,300 advanced energy jobs in related industries that account for $1.1 billion in sales brings total impact of advanced energy on the Arkansas economy to 25,300 workers and $2.8 billion in output, according to an analysis by the UALR Institute of Economic Advancement.

This makes the total size of advanced energy occupations in Arkansas larger than computer and mathematical occupations (20,000) and larger than protective services (23,000) and closing the gap with health care support occupations (35,000), based on the latest Arkansas Occupational Employment survey.

The Arkansas advanced energy jobs study is the first in-state survey of this fast-growing sector, which is defined as services and technologies that make America’s energy supply more secure, clean and affordable.  These technologies and services include energy efficiency, demand response, smart grid, natural gas electric generation, solar, wind, hydro, nuclear, electric vehicles and alternative fuels.  Advanced energy technologies have also expanded the business models for Arkansas HVAC, electrical, and plumbing contractors, many of whom say that energy efficiency makes up more than 50% of their business volume.

A recent report by Navigant Research showed that advanced energy firms nationally grew by 28% since 2011.  “With its report released today, AAEF has documented for the first time from an in-state perspective that the advanced energy sector has not only taken hold in Arkansas but is also reflective of national growth trends and is an important engine for the overall state economy,” noted Steve Patterson, AAEF Executive Director. 

Advanced energy jobs pay well in Arkansas, according to the AAEF study.  The average annual salary of an advanced energy skilled worker is $52,000 which ranks higher than oil and gas workers and most other skilled trades in Arkansas.

By far, the survey responses show that energy efficiency accounts for the largest segment within advanced energy in Arkansas, which is not surprising given the state’s public policies that encourage purchase of energy efficient appliances and water heaters, the installation of equipment like LED lighting, and system-wide building solutions. 

Advanced energy CEOs told AAEF that they are planning to increase employment in 2015 ranging from 20% among companies with more than $1 million in annual sales to 30% among smaller firms.  At the same time, they expressed concern about potential barriers to future growth, with workforce preparation being their number one concern. Lack of education and training were most commonly referred to as workforce preparation issues.

In addition, company leaders said they are concerned about any potential rollback of state and/or federal incentives that emerging technologies depend on to level the playing field with traditional energy sources and to encourage energy customers to break from the status quo. Both workforce education and business incentives will remain a priority of the Arkansas Advanced Energy Association (AAEA) entering 2015.

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The full report, “The Economic Impact of Advanced Energy in Arkansas: A Survey of Business Activity in 2014” can be viewed or downloaded at www.arkansasadvancedenergyfoundation.org.

Arkansas Advanced Energy Association is a business group dedicated to growing Arkansas’s economy by expanding our energy workforce and manufacturing base through the increased development, manufacture, and utilization of advanced energy technologies. www.arkansasadvancedenergy.com

The Arkansas Advanced Energy Foundation is the educational affiliate of the AAEA.  The Foundation promotes greater public understanding of advanced energy in Arkansas through research, public education programs and economic and workforce development. The Foundation is dedicated to informing the energy policy debate with well-researched, fact-based data on the advanced energy economy in Arkansas and by providing a public forum where state leaders can address Arkansas’s energy challenges for the future. www.arkansasadvancedenergyfoundation.org

Report Shows Global Economic Impacts of Advanced Energy
A report released in January 2013 by Advanced Energy Economy (AEE) shows that advanced energy was a $1.1 trillion global market in 2011, larger than pharmaceutical manufacturing worldwide. Read the full report here: http://arkansasadvancedenergyfoundation.org/files/dmfile/AEEIEconomicImpactofAdvancedEnergy-Final.pdf

Follow Arkansas Advanced Energy on Twitter @ArkAdvEnergy and like “Arkansas Advanced Energy Association” on Facebook.


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