Over my last several postings, I have been slowly making a case that, as a matter of public policy, Arkansas supports renewable energy. Last Thursday, in the course of introducing former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm at the Clinton Library, Governor Beebe made a few brief comments that suggest I’m not suffering from visions of a non-existent public policy.
As reported by arkansasbusiness.com, Governor Beebe “called on audience members to ‘evangelize in the old Southern way’ about solar power, biofuels, and other forms of alternative energy,” and commented that renewable energy is “good for the environment, it’s good for our economy, and it’s good for our national security.”
Admittedly, these comments lack depth and could easily be no more than lip service in support of visiting speaker and colleague. But consider: Arkansas has already implemented statutory programs promoting sustainable building design and energy efficiency in state facilities, and the legislature did appropriate significant funding to those programs. Arkansas is quietly but steadily supporting biofuel development and has successfully recruited several significant wind energy manufacturers to the state (i.e., Nordex). And, as the Second Annual Renewable Energy Conference earlier in the week at ASU Jonesboro demonstrated, real and significant efforts to develop renewable solar, wind, biomass, and hydrogen energy sources and bring them to market are ongoing throughout the state.
In the view of this sustainablawger, given the significant failure of our legislature to pass any significant clean energy legislation, citizens of the Arkansas sustainasphere need to stay focused on the areas where Arkansas is leading by example. Renewable energy is shaping up as one of those areas.