Solar energy was the focus of the Arizona Solar Summit IV and during the event, the first public unveiling of the state’s new master energy plan, “emPOWER Arizona: Executive Energy Assessment and Pathways,” took place. On February 18, 2014 Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed the executive order for the legislation- the state’s first comprehensive energy plan in more than 20 years.
The Arizona Solar Summit, hosted by Arizona State University LightWorks, ASU SkySong and the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law and sponsored by NRG, provided the first opportunity for the public to learn about the master energy plan. The plan seeks to make Arizona a “collaboratory” of policy leaders, energy experts and universities.
Leisa Brug, Brewer’s energy policy advisor and director of the Governor’s Office of Energy Policy, led a panel discussion on the plan and its goals. Brug said that Arizona is already ahead of other states in terms of energy policy, and the new master plan will help the state continue to be a national leader in the field. “We’ll be a national model,” Brug said. “We see this as a tremendous way to buoy up our solar industry.”
Other issues covered during the event included the future of the utility sector; carbon dioxide mitigation; energy efficiency in the built environment; and more. In addition, keynote speaker William Harris, president and CEO of Science Foundation Arizona, called on the attendees to become active in the fight against climate change.
“People use this word ‘sustainability’ so often I don’t even know what it means,” Harris said. “I like how Charlie Bayless described it: ‘Treat the planet like you intend to stay.’ Get involved, stay involved and work with this issue.”