FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 14, 2013

Shelly Baron, 501-537-0190 or
Steve Patterson, 501-537-0190 

The Guaranteed Energy Cost Savings Amendment (GECS) would create new jobs in energy efficiency services and products manufacturing industries

(Little Rock, AR) Legislation was introduced before the Arkansas General Assembly today that will enable state agencies to utilize existing funds for energy cost saving improvements to any of the state government’s 2,500 buildings while creating more Arkansas energy jobs, the Arkansas Advanced Energy Association (AAEA) announced today.

Legislation (SB-340) introduced by Senator David Johnson (D-Little Rock) and Rep. Greg Leding, (D-Fayetteville) would amend the Guaranteed Energy Cost Savings (GECS) Act by authorizing state agencies to use existing maintenance and operation funds to pay for energy improvement projects and transferring administrative authority for the state government’s energy efficiency program to the Arkansas Energy Office.  

Co-chairs of the Legislative Task Force on Sustainable Building Design and Practices, Sen. Johnson and Rep. Leding, conducted extensive hearings over this past year on needed improvements to the GECS ACT. They have introduced this amendment as a solution to enable state agencies to meet energy savings goals enacted in the original legislation.  Their task force heard testimony from multiple experts, including state administration officials, energy savings companies, and others prior to the introduction of the amendment.

Current law does not clarify management responsibilities for the GECS program.  The Johnson-Leding amendment would establish the Arkansas Energy Office at the Arkansas Economic Development Commission (AEDC) as the agency to certify qualified contractors and to evaluate and oversee approved projects.  Unlike current law, this change will allow for energy efficiency retrofits to be more easily financed with already existing funds.  In addition, the GECS amendment requires development of a standard contract for use by all state agencies for entering into a guaranteed energy cost savings contract.

“Most state buildings are years old and energy efficiency improvements would dramatically reduce their operational costs,” said Senator Johnson.  “Easing the process for buildings to undergo these improvements will encourage agency heads to pursue these projects and benefit from the cost savings in their budgets.’”

“This amendment creates new jobs in energy efficiency service and products manufacturing industries in Arkansas, already among the fastest growing sectors in the state,” said Representative Leding.  “In addition to creating new jobs, it will also enhance comfort and air quality for current state employees who work in these buildings.”

“AAEA has endorsed the GECS Amendment because meeting these goals will create jobs and improve the energy performance of state buildings,” said Steve Patterson, Executive Director of AAEA.  “Current law has proven too difficult to implement these goals and has resulted in little participation by state agencies and that means higher utility bills than are necessary.  AAEA believes that this amendment is critical for the state to realize its energy savings goals.” 

A Guaranteed Energy Cost Savings Amendment summary is available here:

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.

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 providing a public forum where state leaders can address Arkansas’s energy challenges for the future.

New Report Shows Global Economic Impacts of Advanced Energy
A new 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. The first-ever analysis of the advanced energy sector also shows that the market in the U.S. represents a significant part of the nation’s economy, with $132 billion in revenue in 2011, and a 19 percent growth rate estimated for 2012, with U.S. revenue rising to $157 billion. Read the full report here: 

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