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State’s 2,500 Buildings Could Become More Energy Efficient after Governor’s Signature

Little Rock, AR – The Guaranteed Energy Cost Savings (GECS) Act Amendment (SB340) became law today with the signature of Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe. The new law will better enable state agencies to contract with private energy companies for energy cost saving improvements to any of the state government’s 2,500 buildings.

Over the past year, the bill’s co-sponsors Senator David Johnson (D-Little Rock) and Representative Greg Leding (D-Fayetteville), who are co-chairs of the Legislative Task Force on Sustainable Building Design and Practices, conducted extensive hearings on needed improvements to the Guaranteed Energy Cost Savings Act.  They worked with representatives from various state agencies, including the Arkansas Energy Office, industry leaders within the AAEA, and bipartisan legislators to introduce a common sense bill that was good for both Arkansas businesses and Arkansas taxpayers.  

“I thank Governor Beebe for recognizing the importance of this bill and signing it into law today.  It is important for business owners and taxpayers alike to be able to improve the energy efficiency of state buildings while reducing their operational costs, thus reducing the tax burden for Arkansans,” said Senator Johnson.  “Now that the process for state-managed buildings to undergo these improvements has become easier, agency heads will be encouraged to pursue these projects and benefit from the cost savings in their budgets.” 

“I am proud that Governor Beebe signed this bipartisan bill, recognizing the potential to create new jobs in the energy efficiency services and products manufacturing industries in Arkansas,” said Representative Leding.  “This bill, which gained overwhelming support by both houses, enables state agencies to begin to achieve the energy savings goals enacted by the legislature in 2009.”  

This law amends the 2009 GECS Act by authorizing state agencies to use existing maintenance and operation funds to pay for energy improvement projects and transfers administrative authority for the energy savings program to the Arkansas Energy Office.  It removes various barriers that were hindering participation by state agencies in a program to achieve energy savings goals detailed by the legislature four years ago. The bill was unanimously adopted by both the Senate and the House last month and is expected to spur job growth in the energy savings industry while reducing operational costs for state agencies.  

“As an association representing businesses that will see growth and job creation as a consequence of this new law, we are proud to have achieved one of our highest legislative priorities for this General Assembly,” said Steve Patterson, Executive Director of AAEA.  “AAEA sincerely thanks Sen. Johnson, Rep. Leding and Governor Beebe for their leadership on advanced energy job creation.” 

The Arkansas Energy Office at the Arkansas Economic Development Commission is expected to fully implement the program in 2014.  They will certify qualified contractors and evaluate and oversee approved projects.  In addition, the GECS Act amendment requires development of a standard contract for use by all state agencies for entering into a guaranteed energy cost savings program.

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

Recent 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:

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