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srp installs solar energy systems

Energy Consortium’s Roadmap puts state of path to build industry

Imagine Arizona as the energy hub of the Southwest — where major regional transmission lines tie into infrastructure in the state and serve a growing regional demand for energy. Arizona would be a place where an increasing percentage of jobs are related to the energy industry, whether in manufacturing, generation, transmission, energy efficiency, service or technology innovation. Many of these jobs would be higher-wage jobs requiring a skilled labor force fed by Arizona’s schools and universities. Arizona could be a hub of energy-sector jobs, with factories making equipment for the industry and power plants shipping electricity to neighboring states via new power lines, all contributing to a better economy.

That is the essence of the Arizona Energy Consortium’s Energy Roadmap, which the group hopes with be a catalyst for the state’s energy industry in the same way Arizona’s Bioscience Roadmap helped the state increase bioscience jobs by 41 percent and helped increase the number of bioscience establishments by 27 percent during its 10-year plan.

“It was important to create this document to give the energy industry a unified voice and direction,” said said Michelle De Blasi, co-chair of the AEC and a shareholder at Greenberg Traurig. “The energy industry is going to be here forever. We are always going to need energy. So the Roadmap was designed to make the industry better for everyone — consumers, developers, legislators. So it was critical that we get it right.”

This is the vision the Roadmap hopes to realize over the next decade: Arizona is the energy hub of the Southwest, with a diverse energy mix supporting reliable transmission, a strong base of manufacturing facilities, increased numbers of higher wage jobs, and world-class research institutions, resulting in increased economic development for the state and region.

Once that vision is realized, De Blasi said the state can expect to reap these benefits:
• Enhanced job creation and higher-wage jobs within Arizona
• Increased state economic revenue
• Enhanced energy export potential
• Heightened energy self-sufficiency and national and state security
• Increased transmission reliability
• Continued low cost energy

“This Roadmap is going to help Arizona be looked at differently from outside its borders,” said Chris Davey, co-chair with De Blasi of the AEC and president of EnviroMission, which is developing a solar tower in Western Arizona. “The Roadmap will create a sense of certainty, which appeals to the finance community. So when they are looking to invest, that certainty creates a more attractive environment for developers and investors.”

Davey and De Blasi said they will be rolling out the Roadmap this year, presenting it to groups throughout the state. For more information on the Roadmap, visit aztechcouncil.org.

ROADMAP CONTRIBUTORS

Arizona Commerce Authority
Arizona Governor’s Office of Energy Policy
Arizona Public Service
Bridge Strategy Group
Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck
City of Mesa, the Office of the Mayor
Cleantech Open
Dircks
DIRTT
DMB Associates
Energy Services Coalition
EnviroMission
Faithful+Gould
Greater Phoenix Economic Council
Greenberg Traurig
The Green Chamber – Greater Phoenix
Golder Associates
Hensel Phelps
Ikoloji
Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals
J.D. Porter & Associates
Kolbe Connect
Matthew McDonnell
Ormond Group, LLC
RG Schmelzer, Inc.
Salt River Project
Stream Energy
Tucson Electric Power
Valley Forward
Valley Partnership

Sustainability Discussions at the GoGreen Conference

GoGreen Conference ’11 Sustainability Panel Discussions (Part II)

In the first part of the GoGreen Conference ’11 coverage, we reported that sustainability education and patience were the buzzwords of many of the panel discussions. Here’s why:

The panel discussion titled “Green Your Workplace: High Impact Change at Your Business,” moderated by Ed Fox, chief sustainability officer for APS, focused on how to turn the idea of going green and sustainability into governance. This challenge small and large businesses face was the topic of discussion among the panel, which included:

  • Bryan Dunn, senior vice president of Adolfson & Peterson Construction;
  • Jonce Walker, sustainability manager of Maricopa County;
  • Anthony Floyd, LEED AP, green building program manager of the City of Scottsdale;
  • and Leslie Lindo, president and co-founder of IKOLOJI.

Fox began the discussion asking the panelists how one would convince the leaders of companies to pursue incorporating green elements into the workplace.

Floyd suggested offering incentives and marketing materials and free literature to spur interest. Lindo agreed providing incentives to employees will help encourage them to make the changes second nature. She also suggested owners become educated themselves and have a strong advocate in the office.

Walker took a different approach and said reducing consumption to afford sustainability is one step a business can consider taking. The company must be efficient and through this efficiency, it will convince others that the extra cost will be worth it.

Walker continued to say that it helps to know all the benefits of turning your particular business green — environmental, economical, etc. — and know your audience.

“Ninety percent of clients are bottom-line driven,” Dunn said. They want to save energy and save money, he added. Two ways companies can do this is by making their own operations more efficient (switching your lighting to LED, for example) while also anticipating changes in the marketplace.

Dunn also said behavioral modifications must take place. You can switch to LED, but the appropriate actions must be taken by the staff, i.e. remembering to turn off the lights.

But what was stressed was the acceptance of risk. While making your business more environmentally friendly and sustainable will help you save money in the long run, it will take some time to get there with few obvious returns. Or, as Fox put it, the few “low hanging fruit.”

In the following discussion, “Applying Sustainabilty Best Practices to Impact Community Equity and Diversity,” moderated by Dr. George Brooks, owner of Southwest Green and NxT Horizon Group and including Greg Peterson, founder of Urban Farm; Diane Brossart, president of Valley Forward; and Rosanne Albright, Brownfields Project Manager of the City of Phoenix, regenerative sustainability was the hot topic as well as education.

“Nature regenerates itself, not just sustains itself,” Peterson said. “Education is the key piece to sustainability.

Urban farming (or growing and sharing food), recycling land via the Brownfields Land Recycling Project, and the importance of parks and open space in the state were all covered in this discussion.

“Energy, food, health, poverty — they are all connected,” Brooks said. “Local sourcing and urban farms can help offset the costs of energy.”

Peterson’s final thoughts?

“It’s really a grassroots movement,” he said. “For those of you in the government, get out of our way.”

Visit the GoGreen Conference website at gogreenconference.net.