The Arkansas Advanced Energy Association on Thursday unveiled policy recommendations for inclusion in a comprehensive state energy plan following a year-long collaborative process engaging more than 70 advanced energy industry leaders from across the state.
It also released a poll indicating 88 percent of Arkansans who participated believe that the use of advanced energy, defined as alternate forms of efficient energy, is critical for future growth
"Arkansas's existing advanced energy assets can be harnessed to diversify the state's energy portfolio and drive economic growth for its companies," said Steve Patterson, executive director of AAEA, in a news release. "That's why we convened more than 70 advanced energy leaders over the course of a year to reach consensus on policy measures that will encourage private investment and expansion in the alternative fuels, energy efficiency and renewable energy sectors."
AAEA collected data over the course of a year from state leaders in renewable energy, clean tech market development and bio energy.
"Our business and energy leaders don't oppose any form of energy," Patterson said. "Looking ahead, they recognize that it will take a diversity of resources to meet increased energy demand and Arkansas has an opportunity to profit. Their recommendations represent a consensus on policy measures that should encourage private investment and expansion in the alternative fuels, energy efficiency and renewable energy sectors."
The survey, sponsored by Advanced Energy Economy and AAEA, its Arkansas chapter, found that 88 percent of Arkansans think it's important to the state economy to manufacture advanced energy products like batteries for power storage, high-efficiency motors and equipment and wind turbine components. It also found that a majorityy of respondents believe Congress should continue to promote wind energy by extending existing tax credits for wind energy.
AAEA members include Nordex USA, FutureFuel Chemical Co., Clean Line Energy Partners, Silicon Solar Solutions, NextGen Illumination and the city of North Little Rock.
"Technology and innovation are providing an opportunity for Americans to take control of their energy future," said Gary McChesney, chief technology officer of FutureFuel and AAEA chairman. "Advanced energy encompasses a range of products and services, but they all contribute to a smarter energy future. That is why we speak with a single voice for the potential of advanced energy to bring jobs and economic growth to Arkansas now and in the future."
Policy recommendations include state incentives for the use of alternate fuels, legislative and regulatory initiatives related to energy efficiency, a state standard for the use of clean and renewable energy, and further research and development in the advanced energy arena.