AEDC's Scott Hamilton on Arkansas' Solar Energy Future (Exec Q&A) - Innovate Arkansas
AEDC's Scott Hamilton on Arkansas' Solar Energy Future (Exec Q&A)
By Luke Jones, 7/23/2012 12:00:00 AM
Scott Hamilton became director of AEDC's Energy Office in June 2011. He serves as primary contact for the state of Arkansas on all energy-related issues.
Background: A native of Little Rock, Hamilton has spent more than 23 years in the energy industry, starting with Arkla Gas Co. in 1988. Most recently, he served as energy adviser for the city of Detroit. There, he managed municipal electric generation and distribution. He has also managed numerous energy-related projects in the education field from kindergarten through college.
Education: Hamilton holds a doctorate in law from the University of Missouri School of Law at Columbia and a Master of Business Administration from Rockhurst University in Kansas City, Mo.
Q: What are some of your personal goals for the energy office?
A: I want to position Arkansas as an extremely energy-conscious and focused state. Specifically, as the state continues to thrive, it's important that our energy resources are maximized in a manner that benefits businesses and residents alike. The Arkansas Energy Office is the obvious place for all things related to energy to incubate.
Q: What are some ways the energy office is promoting sustainable energy?
A: We have just completed our American Recovery & Reinvestment Act programs, which provided more than $50 million in phenomenal energy-efficiency and renewable projects within the state. This program provided valuable opportunities to educate and promote Arkansans on the extreme importance of sustainable and efficient energy practices. The benefits are the ongoing savings that Arkansans will enjoy through sustainable and efficient energy measures. As a result of the ARRA programs, we are now developing and promoting numerous proven energy strategies through programs such as Energy Efficiency Arkansas. EEA is an energy-focused outreach and marketing collaboration between our office and the energy providers in the state of Arkansas. This program, which can be found online at EnergyEfficiencyArkansas.org, makes it easy to obtain answers and strategies on how to implement energy-saving measures.
Q: What will be Arkansas' opportunities in wind energy? Generating? Manufacturing? What about when the tax credit ends?
A: As Gov. Mike Beebe recently stated at the international wind power conference in Atlanta, Arkansas has great opportunities in both wind energy generation and manufacturing. We recently conducted a statewide wind assessment that identified locations in the state with great potential for this renewable energy resource. We are working with various wind industry stakeholders to grow this industry quickly in our state. Arkansas is the home of several wind industry component manufacturers supporting wind generation worldwide. This base of manufacturers within our state is incredibly important as this industry is poised to grow globally during the next decade. With increased awareness, the use of renewable measures continues to gain momentum. As to the tax credit, the wind industry is confident the federal tax credits will continue. Regardless, the market economy should be able to resolve any financial constraints.
Q: How about solar - we have some cutting-edge startups in the state, but do you think it will ever be a viable industry here?
A: Solar will absolutely become a viable industry in our state. As solar technology is becoming more advanced and affordable, we are seeing a large amount of interest and plans for implementation in this extremely cost-effective energy resource. One need only experience the last few weeks in Arkansas to realize the sun's resource is abundant here in the state. With this, the Arkansas Energy Office is working with various solar industry stakeholders to ensure that any barriers are diminished. Under our recent ARRA programs, solar installations were by far the most preferred renewable energy choice.
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