FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 8, 2013
Bipartisan Act will accelerate job growth in the expanding energy efficiency and renewable energy industries in Arkansas
Little Rock, AR – Legislation that will empower Arkansas property owners who want to invest in energy efficiency improvements, water conservation improvements and renewable energy projects passed the State House today and is one step away from becoming law. With the Governor’s signature, Arkansas will soon become the 29th state to authorize Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing programs.
Rep. Greg Leding (D-Fayetteville) spoke in favor of the bill’s passage today before the Arkansas House voted 51-13 to adopt the legislation. “The PACE program will allow business owners to realize saving from energy efficiency programs that will improve their cash flow,” said Rep. Leding. “This legislation creates jobs, expands local economies, and reduces energy usage. It is one of the most thoroughly scrutinized piece of legislation that I have worked on. I thank my House colleagues for passing SB640.”
The PACE program, defined by SB640, authorizes the voluntary creation of energy improvement districts to fund loans for projects by interested property owners. The loans are repaid via a special assessment on the owner’s property. Loan payments are generally less than the amount of energy savings achieved, so most business owners experience an increase in cash flow. Without access to low-cost financing opportunities, Arkansas property owners must typically bear the upfront costs of energy savings projects, an obstacle that has stymied many energy savings projects in Arkansas.
Rep. Leding and Sen. David Johnson (D-Little Rock), the leading co-sponsors of SB640, co-chair the Legislative Task Force on Sustainable Building Design and Practices, which heard hours of testimony last year on various financing options for energy improvements to Arkansas commercial and residential buildings. SB640 is the product of those hearings along with years of efforts by industry leaders within the Arkansas Advanced Energy Association (AAEA), clean energy advocates and policy makers.
“Upon enactment, the PACE Act will rely on local initiatives to create energy efficiency improvement districts that will ignite job expansion and strengthen local economies,” said Sen Johnson. “PACE financed improvements make smart business sense for property owners and I appreciate the House taking action to move this bill closer to becoming law today.”
“With the Governor’s signature, the PACE Act will become law thanks to a special effort by Rep. Leding and Sen. Johnson along with key support by Rep. Jonathan Barnett, R-Siloam Springs, and Sen. Jon Woods, (R-Springdale),” said Steve Patterson, Executive Director of AAEA. “The advanced energy business community was also a key force in gaining passage of PACE legislation this year where it failed in previous legislatures. We especially thank the bipartisan members of the House and Senate who recognized the potential job growth and energy savings that can be generated through a vibrant PACE program.”
Buildings in the United States use nearly half of the energy the country consumes, according to PACENow.org, a website that tracks PACE programs across the country. AAEA and other supporters believe that PACE programs help make America more energy independent by reducing overall energy use.
Other original cosponsors of SB640 are Representatives Charles Armstrong (D-Little Rock), Fonda Hawthorne (D-Ashdown), George McGill (D-Fort Smith), Betty Overbey (D-Lamar), Tommy Thompson (D-Morrilton), Warwick Sabin (D-Little Rock) and David Whitaker (D-Fayetteville).
PACE is among several initiatives endorsed by AAEA in the current General Assembly session. Most policies were recommended by working groups of more the 70 industry leaders who were convened by AAEA Policy Director Ken Smith frequently throughout 2012 to discuss ways to expand the advanced energy economy in Arkansas. Sen. Johnson and Rep. Leding have been at the center of the collaborative effort on PACE in order to remove one of Arkansas’s greatest barriers to energy savings projects that improve sustainability and energy efficiency.
To read a summary of the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) legislation, click here: http://arkansasadvancedenergy.com/files/dmfile/PACESUMMARY.2.13.pdf
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
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: http://arkansasadvancedenergyfoundation.org/files/dmfile/AEEIEconomicImpactofAdvancedEnergy-Final.pdf
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