Steve Patterson, 501-537-0190 or
Mollie Merry Campbell, 501-537-0190 or

Little Rock, AR – More than 200 advanced energy leaders and policy makers will gather here on Tuesday, October 20 for the Arkansas Advanced Energy Association’s (AAEA) 4th annual policy conference, “emPOWERing Arkansas,” at the downtown Doubletree Hotel.

This year’s event will celebrate a year of unprecedented growth in the large-scale solar energy market in Arkansas along with several policy enhancements achieved during the 90th General Assembly earlier this year that will promote continued growth in the state’s robust energy efficiency market.

The day’s program features Walmart Vice President for Energy, Mark Vanderhelm, as the luncheon keynote speaker. The morning program will highlight the state’s fast-growing large-scale solar industry and a roundtable policy discussion on the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan.

Silicon Ranch Corporation, which is developing a 12-MW solar project near Camden in the Highland Industrial Park, is this year’s Title Sponsor of “emPOWERing Arkansas.”

The policy program gets underway in the morning with a solar industry panel beginning at 9:30 a.m. Moderated by AAEA Policy Director Ken Smith, featured panelists include Matt Kisber, CEO, Silicon Ranch Corporation; Mark Cayce, CEO/General Manager, Ouachita Electric Cooperative and Chairman, Today’s Power Inc.; Erik Didriksen, EH&S Strategist, Aerojet Rocketdyne; Heather Nelson, Co-Founder/President/COO, Seal Energy Solutions; and Corey Call, CEO, Whole Com, a commercial solar developer.

The policy roundtable that follows the solar industry program will focus this year on Arkansas energy efficiency and renewable energy resources that are available to help Arkansas achieve compliance with the EPA’s Clean Power Plan. Smith and Matt Stanberry, VP of Market Development for the Advanced Energy Economy, will lead a wide-ranging discussion among all participants.

The Lunch program also includes presentation of AAEA’s Second Annual Ron Bell Advanced Energy Leadership Award, which recognizes outstanding and consistent contributions to Arkansas’s advanced energy industry by an individual business leader, research/education leader, or public servant in Arkansas. This year’s finalists are Martha Jane Murray, Wally Nixon, Orlo Stitt and Don Richardson.

Studies commissioned by the Arkansas Advanced Energy Foundation earlier this year identified an advanced energy market in Arkansas that includes more than 25,000 jobs and popular support for renewable energy and energy efficiency among Arkansas voters, more than 80 percent of whom think their political leaders should do more to develop these markets.


AAEA Members and Guests: For event information, registration, and sponsorship opportunities, please visit:

Members of the Media: Please contact Mollie Campbell at (501) 537-0190 or for information on media accommodations.

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.

Silicon Ranch Corporation is one of the nation’s leading developer, owner, operators of solar energy projects. The Nashville-based company is leading the development of the 12 MW solar field currently being built in East Camden’s Highland Industrial Park for defense contractor Aerojet Rocketdyne. Silicon Ranch Corporation is a member of AAEA.

New Study Finds 25,000 Arkansans Working in the Advanced Energy Economy
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 Clean Power Plan and Arkansas’s Electric System
Prior to release of the final Clean Power Plan AAEA released a background summary document, “The Clean Power Plan and Arkansas’s Electric System”. The report shows that Arkansas is well on its way to reducing emissions and meeting targets, and has an opportunity to modernize its electric grid for the benefit of consumers and the economy in the course of complying with the EPA rule.

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