The Arkansas Advanced Energy Association (AAEA) will recognize five Arkansas legislators as “Champions of Advanced Energy” for their successful work to enact laws to spur job growth and innovation in Arkansas’s advanced fuels and emerging energy efficiency industries and reward Arkansas consumers with significant energy savings opportunities. These legislators will receive their award at an AAEA “Champions of Advanced Energy” reception in Little Rock on June 19, 2013.

The five legislators are Senators David Johnson (D-Little Rock) and Larry Teague (D-Nashville),  Representatives Jonathan Barnett (R-Siloam Springs), Greg Leding (D-Fayetteville) and Lane Jean (R-Magnolia).  The “Champions of Advanced Energy” reception is presented by AAEA-member company, Powers of Arkansas. 

During the recent legislative session, AAEA members worked with these legislators to enact several bills that will expand advanced energy opportunities and create jobs across Arkansas. 

“The PACE Act (SB640), amendments to the Guaranteed Energy Cost Savings Act (SB340), authorization for state agencies to issue energy efficiency improvement bonds (SB824), and the Clean Burning Motor Fuels Development Act (SB792) were top priorities for AAEA during the 2013 session, and we are grateful to these members of the General Assembly whose effective leadership allowed these bills to become law,” said AAEA Executive Director, Steve Patterson.  

The AAEA will also recognize a bipartisan group of nine legislators as “Friends of Advanced Energy” for their extraordinary support of advanced energy issues during the 2013 General Assembly.  They are: Sen. Linda Chesterfield (D-Little Rock) Co-Chairwoman of the Joint Energy Committee; Sen. Uvalde Lindsey (D-Fayetteville); Sen. Jon Woods (R-Springdale); Sen. David Wyatt (D-Batesville); Rep. David Branscum (R-Marshall), Co-Chairman of the Joint Energy Committee; Rep. James McLean (D-Batesville); Rep. Stephen Meeks (R-Greenbrier); Rep. Mark Perry (R-Jacksonville); and Rep. Warwick Sabin (D-Little Rock).   

Senator Johnson is being recognized as a Champion for his work on three AAEA priority bills that became law during the session. Senator Johnson was the leading sponsor of SB640, SB340, and SB824 and sits on the Senate State Agencies and Governmental Affairs committee that first heard these bills before being presented to the entire Senate body. He was instrumental in seeing them pass through both the committee and the full senate.    

“I appreciated working with AAEA members during the last session and I look forward to a vibrant energy efficiency economy in Arkansas as a result of these important policy initiatives,” said Senator Johnson. Johnson, who is also Co-Chairman of the Legislative Task Force on Sustainable Building Design and Practices, heard hours of testimony last year on various financing options for energy improvements to Arkansas commercial and residential buildings. 

Representative Greg Leding, who Co-Chairs the Legislative Task Force on Sustainable Building Design and Practices with Senator Johnson, also cosponsored SB640 and SB630. Leding spoke in favor of these bills in Committee and on the House floor and was instrumental in securing the votes needed to send both bills to the Governor’s desk. PACE and GECS are both products of many hearings in the Task Force along with years of efforts by industry leaders within AAEA, clean energy advocates, and policy makers. 

“I’m proud to have worked on legislation this session that will create jobs at advanced energy businesses, grow local economies, and reduce energy usage,” said Representative Leding. “And I am pleased that the work of our Task Force and the bipartisan cooperation of fellow legislators culminated in the passage of these laws.” 

Another leading cosponsor of SB640, Representative Jonathan Barnett, was vital to generating bi-partisan support. 

“The PACE Act wasn’t a partisan issue. It just makes smart business sense,” Rep. Barnett said. “It allows real property owners to access financing for energy efficiency improvement projects. Loan payments are generally less than the amount of energy savings achieved, so business owners experience an increase in cash flow.”   

Senator Larry Teague, a longtime advocate for the natural gas industry in Arkansas, was a leading cosponsor of SB792, The Clean Burning Motor Fuel Act. This law establishes incentives for expanded use of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), and Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG). Senator Teague’s leadership was significant in the passage of this bill. 

“These clean burning fuels are in abundant supply in Arkansas and offer lower cost alternatives to petroleum products while helping to keep Arkansas energy dollars at home,” said Senator Teague. 

Also cosponsoring SB792 was Representative Lane Jean who chairs the House Subcommittee on Agriculture, Forestry, and Natural Resources. As chair of the committee that first heard this bill in the House, Jean helped see this bill out of committee and eventually through overwhelming passage by the full House. 

“By encouraging use of CNG, LNG and LPG by Arkansas consumers, we are ensuring better utilization of a valuable, low-cost natural resource,” Rep. Jean said.  “These tax credits represent a wise investment by the state in an industry that will continue to boost our economy for years to come.” 

AAEA looks forward to honoring the work of these legislators and celebrating a successful General Assembly for advanced energy companies in Arkansas. 

The 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  

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.

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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