Business officials with utilities, manufacturing, chemicals, energy transmission and other energy-related sectors on Wednesday (Jan. 23) pushed the “Advanced Energy” cause in the Arkansas Capitol rotunda.
“Advanced Energy Day at the Legislature” featured nearly 20 exhibitors in the Capitol Rotunda and included an afternoon panel discussion of advanced energy industry leaders who addressed questions from legislators and the public, according to a statement from the Arkansas Advanced Energy Association.
The AAEA used the event to highlight a recent report suggesting that alternative and innovative energy sources provide Arkansans lower energy prices and more jobs. The study, released Oct. 8, showed more than 11,300 Arkansans employed by about 90 advanced energy companies across the state.
The study found more than half of the state’s advanced energy workers are in energy efficiency manufacturing, consumer products or building materials.
“We believe that growing our state’s share of the advanced energy economy means more jobs and more energy choices for Arkansans,” Steve Patterson, executive director of the Arkansas Advanced Energy Association, said in the statement. “AAEA stands ready to work with our state leaders to take every advantage of Arkansas’s abundant advanced energy resources.”
The panel discussion included:
• David Baker, senior vice president, Future Fuel Chemical Company;
• Mike Callan, president, Fort Smith-based Arkansas Oklahoma Gas Corp.;
• John Malinowski, senior product manager, Baldor Electric Co.;
• Steve Packard, executive, Schneider Electric;
• Naomi Lovinger, head of communications, Nordex USA;
• Mario Hurtado, executive vice president for development, Clean Line Energy Partners; and,
• Pam Speraw, CEO, Sun City Solar Energy.
Callan, with AOG, has been a leader in Arkansas with respect to pushing for broader use of compressed natural gas to fuel vehicles.
AOG, a natural gas utility with customers in western Arkansas and eastern Oklahoma, has 53 CNG vehicles and plans to add eight more in 2013. The public fueling station operated by AOG – the first in Arkansas – is also seeing more use.
“We estimate we have 100 non-AOG vehicles fueling. Currently the sales to the public is averaging approximately 6,400 gasoline gallon equivalent per month,” Callan said during a recent interview.
Callan and other alternative fuel advocates have plans during the 2013 General Assembly to pass legislation providing further incentives for CNG use and for building CNG fueling stations.
“AAEA hopes the newly elected state legislature will recognize that Arkansas advanced energy firms are delivering economic value to our state today and have even greater potential to strengthen rural communities and create more jobs tomorrow, “ Patterson said. “We will support initiatives to encourage more wind component manufacturing and expand to other forms of advanced energy like solar and biofuels manufacturing and compressed natural gas. And we are working with state leaders to remove barriers to energy efficiency programs that can save Arkansas families and businesses money.”
Advanced Energy Economy (AEE) recently issued a report showing 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% growth rate estimated for 2012, with U.S. revenue rising to $157 billion.