Katie Laning Niebaum
Little Rock, AR – More than 100 advanced energy business leaders celebrated “Arkansas Advanced Energy Day” at the State Capitol Tuesday, spreading their message that the advanced energy economy is a key driver of job creation and economic growth for Arkansas.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson issued an official designation recognizing March 14, 2017 as Arkansas Advanced Energy Day, the Arkansas Advanced Energy Association announced last month. The advanced energy economy in Arkansas includes more than 770 companies and a workforce of 25,000 people, according to research from the Arkansas Advanced Energy Foundation.
The day’s activities included dynamic exhibits and technology demonstrations by AAEA member companies and industry stakeholders in the Capitol Rotunda, as well as a policy lunch where government officials and legislators acknowledged the growth of advanced energy technologies and their future potential to the state.
“As an old farmer like me, [the use of solar power] just makes common sense,” said Rep. David Hillman, whose district includes portions of Arkansas, Lonoke, Prairie, and White counties.
“Energy efficiency in Arkansas is not a new idea, it’s a proven idea,” ADEQ Director Becky Keogh noted, pointing to ADEQ’s LEED-certified headquarters in North Little Rock. The facility, now 10 years old, was planned and constructed with environmental protection, energy efficiency, and appropriate use of resources in mind.
Chief among AAEA’s policy priorities this legislative session is HB2026, bipartisan legislation that would help more property owners access financing for energy efficiency, water efficiency and renewable energy improvements.
The Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) ACT of 2013 authorized the voluntary creation of energy improvement districts to fund loans for projects by interested property owners. The initiative has demonstrated its value with several projects currently in development but technical corrections, as proposed in HB2026, would help bring several of those projects to closure and stimulate greater market demand.
“PACE has been a leading priority for AAEA and our members since the advanced energy business community helped secure its passage in 2013,” said Katie Laning Niebaum, AAEA executive director. “AAEA members were pleased to discuss PACE and other priorities with their elected officials, making the case for policies that will promote further growth for this innovative industry that is creating jobs and offering technologies that cut costs for Arkansas families and businesses.”
Arkansas Advanced Energy Day at the Legislature was presented in partnership with Seal Energy Solutions. Exhibitors included the Arkansas Energy Office, ASHRAE, CenterPoint Energy, Clean Line Energy Partners, Energy Efficiency Design & Development Inc., Entegrity Energy Partners, Future Fuel Chemical Company, Inspiring Energy LLC, Johnson Controls, PACE districts, Powers of Arkansas, Seal Energy Solutions and Silicon Ranch Corporation.
The Arkansas Advanced Energy Association (AAEA) is the business voice for advanced energy in Arkansas. AAEA is dedicated to growing Arkansas’s economy through expanded utilization of advanced energy technologies, including energy efficiency, demand response, natural gas electric generation, solar, wind, hydro, nuclear, electric vehicles, alternative fuels and smart grid. These are innovations that make our energy supply more secure, clean and affordable. Visit arkansasadvancedenergy.com, and find us on Facebook and Twitter.