LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - When it comes to renewable energy resources, it's more than just another way to "go green." Finding ways to improve and use these resources will greatly impact the economic future of the state.
This continues to be an area of concern for Governor Mike Beebe's office. Now, they're taking a look at where Arkansas stands with the progress of using renewable energy.
Protect the environment. Create jobs and keep them in state. Improve independence from foreign oil sources. The development of renewable energy resources can do all of these.
"We think Arkansas' potentially a rich locale for a lot of those fuels and energy resources," says Matt DeCample, spokesperson for Governor Mike Beebe.
DeCample says their office is constantly looking for ways to make use of the state's natural resources.
"If the technology we know is already coming into place for bio-massed-fuels we think that south Arkansas and the delta could be a huge national leader in that area," DeCample says.
Bill Ball, owner of Stellar Sun, founded the Arkansas Renewable energy association in the early 90's.
"We're just now beginning to have policies, and maybe in the last 10 years or so, some states have begun to get very aggressive in doing renewable energy," says Ball.
Currently 36 states have either goals or mandates to produce an average of 25% of their state's electricity from renewable energy resources. That average target date is the year 2020.
Arkansas is not one of those states, so Ball is taking his ideas to the state legislature.
"We've got a program, a policy, that allows contracts between businesses, farmers, homeowners...if they're using and generating renewable energy in Arkansas, they can get a long term with their utility company to sell it back to them," Ball explains.
Ball, like Governor Beebe, says we need to take advantage of what we have right here in the natural state. He plans to present his proposed Clean Energy Act of 2013 at Thursday's Joint Energy Commission meeting.