State Already On Track to Becoming the Most Energy Efficient in Southeast
Investments in energy efficiency across all four of Arkansas’ economic sectors —- residential, commercial, industrial, and transportation —- would create over 11,000 jobs, generate $240 million in revenue for the state, and save consumers $3.2 billion in energy bills by 2025, according to a report released today by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). The report, Advancing Energy Efficiency in Arkansas: Opportunities for a Clean Energy Economy, examines the potential for greater energy efficiency in Arkansas and suggests a variety of policies to tap into this underused resource.
An interim release of ACEEE’s Arkansas report has already been successful in influencing energy efficiency policy in the state. The study was delivered to government officials, including the Arkansas Public Service Commission (APSC), in June 2010 and utilized during APSC proceedings. On December 10, 2010, the APSC issued 10 orders designed to expand the energy efficiency efforts of Arkansas utilities, making Arkansas the first state in the Southeast to adopt a comprehensive set of policies on utility energy efficiency programs.
Among the programs created by the APSC orders is an Energy Efficiency Resource Standard (EERS), which sets a statewide goal for long-term energy savings. In order to meet the EERS targets, the report suggests instituting a number of programs including weatherization assistance for inefficient homes, energy-efficient financing for the Arkansas agricultural sector, and investments in the efficiency of Arkansas’ public buildings. The report projects that investments in this suite of programs and policies will not only create jobs and lower energy bills, but will also increase the state’s productivity and revenue.
“This study lays the foundation for a future of sustained economic activity and prosperity for Arkansas citizens by recommending a broad suite of policies intended to capture a significant amount of energy savings potential across all of Arkansas’ economic sectors,” said Max Neubauer, ACEEE Research Associate and lead author of the report. “Investments in these energy efficiency policies will reduce energy consumption, helping to create jobs while saving consumers money that can then be reinvested elsewhere in the state economy.”
The report also analyzes Arkansas’ transportation sector, making a variety of policy recommendations to reduce fuel use while helping to address congestion and expand transportation options for its growing population. The analysis focused primarily on the state’s two major metropolitan areas, Little Rock/North Little Rock and Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers, and found that the recommendations could cut the state’s transportation fuel needs by 10 percent in 2025.
“The orders given by the Arkansas Public Service Commission signify a break from the commonly voiced doctrine in the Southeast that any expense on utility bills is a bane of business and economic growth,” said ACEEE Executive Director Steven Nadel. “In fact, it is quite the opposite: energy efficiency encourages economic growth by reducing energy bills and creating a robust, sustainable energy efficiency market that offers new business opportunities and generates jobs.”
Steven Nadel and Max Neubauer will be presenting their findings to the state’s Joint Energy Committee on March 29th.
To read the report, click here.