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Arkansas has cultivated a substantial and growing advanced energy industry building upon the state’s historic economic assets, innovative business professionals and forward-thinking private and public leaders.
Today there is a growing preference for energy that is secure, clean and affordable – that is advanced energy. The Arkansas Advanced Energy Association (AAEA) represents the companies and professionals who are helping to modernize the U.S. domestic energy market and address growing global energy demand.
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 study released by the Arkansas Advanced Energy Foundation (AAEF) in 2015. About 770 companies report annual sales of more than $1.7 billion and employe about 16,000 workers. Another 9,300 advanced energy jobs in related industries that account for $1.1 billion in sales brings total impact of advanced energy on the Arkansas economy to 25,300 workers and $2.8 billion in output, according to an analysis by the UALR Institute of Economic Advancement.
Advanced energy CEOs told AAEF that they are planning to increase employment in the next few years ranging from 20% among companies with more than $1 million in annual sales to 30% among smaller firms. At the same time, they expressed concern about potential barriers to future growth, with workforce preparation being their number one concern. Lack of education and training were most commonly referred to as workforce preparation issues.
In addition, company leaders said they are concerned about any potential rollback of state and/or federal incentives that emerging technologies depend on to level the playing field with traditional energy sources and to encourage energy customers to break from the status quo. Both workforce education and a level playing field for advanced energy companies are priorities of AAEA.
AAEA continues to influence the state’s energy policy landscape focusing on initiatives that will expand business opportunities for Arkansas Advanced Energy companies. See below for AAEA’s policy priorities for 2017.
The most positive development in state policy toward advanced energy occurred in December, 2010, when the Arkansas Public Service Commission issued orders creating an Energy Efficiency Resource Standard.
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“The Economic Impact of Advanced Energy in Arkansas: A Survey of Business Activity in 2014”, authored by local economist James Metzger, CEO of HISTECON Associates identified more than 770 advanced energy companies doing business in Arkansas. These companies report annual sales of more than $1.7 billion and employ about 16,000 workers. Another 9,300 advanced energy jobs in related industries that account for $1.1 billion in sales brings total impact of advanced energy on the Arkansas economy to 25,300 workers and $2.8 billion in output, according to an analysis by the UALR Institute of Economic Advancement.
Like the industry we represent, AAEA has also enjoyed rapid growth representing approximately 90 members by the end of 2015, our third full year. Our membership is a unique blend of manufacturers, energy providers, entrepreneurs, small business owners, educators, researchers and public institutions. These members have joined in the common interest of economic expansion and job creation in the advanced energy sector.
During the past decade, advanced energy as an economic development opportunity was a relatively new concept. That was because the sector focused almost entirely on regulatory and environmental issues and was not thought of as a job creator. Today by almost any measure, there is clear evidence that advanced energy technologies like solar power, energy efficiency and alternative fuels are producing jobs and energy savings in states that deploy them.
AAEA engages in policy advocacy at the federal, state and regulatory levels; industry policy group briefings; targeted outreach to other businesses and policymakers in Arkansas and across the country and regular communications with our members.
As a state partner in the national business federation, Advanced Energy Economy (AEE) we are part of a national coalition working to create a better business climate for the advanced energy sector in Arkansas and nationwide. AEE and its partners work together with industry leaders to leverage success at the state and regional level for impact on the national stage through outreach, policy efforts, communications and media.
Membership in AAEA is an opportunity to be a part of a growing and influential organization that is leading the way for advanced energy development in Arkansas.
The Arkansas Advanced Energy Association 2017 Annual Report
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About Arkansas Advanced Energy Foundation
Arkansas Advanced Energy Foundation promotes greater public understanding of advanced energy in Arkansas through research, public education programs and economic and workforce development.