Arizona Unveils Master Plan at Solar Summit

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Arizona solar industry professionals assemble in Phoenix for the Arizona Solar Summit IV. Officials unveil a Master Energy Plan to pave the way for innovation and development of sustainable energy in the state.

The sun was shining on the campus of Arizona State University SkySong this month as policymakers, energy experts, and solar industry representatives gathered for the fourth installment of the Arizona Solar Summit. The February 20 event served to pool intellectual and experiential resources from around the state, and was the site of the first public unveiling of Arizona’s comprehensive new Master Energy Plan. The event, sponsored by NRG and hosted by ASU SkySong, The Sandra Day Oconnor College of Law, and Arizona State University LightWorks, showcased key energy issues from around the state, and provided expert talks and panel discussions from both industry representatives and government officials. 

Leisa Brug, who serves as Energy Policy Advisor to Governor Jan Brewer and directs the Arizona Governor’s Office of Energy Policy, moderated a panel discussion on the new comprehensive state energy plan. This plan, brought into existence by Executive Order from Governor Brewer, is the first time in 23 years that the state has enacted an overarching strategy for the future of the energy industry. The plan seeks to streamline regulatory and commissioning procedures to create an environment friendly to business ventures, investment, and job growth in the solar industry. It also aims to assess and improve current models of how to combine traditional and non-traditional energy generation, and to foster development of new technologies and best practices. Brug is optimistic about the prospects for Arizona’s energy industry. “We’ll be a national model,” she said. “We see this as a tremendous way to bouy up our solar industry”.

The keynote speaker, William Harris, discussed the necessity of updating our sustainable energy strategies for a post-industrial revolution community. Harris is the president and CEO of Science Foundation Arizona. He touched on the issue of climate change and the increase in CO2 emissions, and touted the necessity of offering school-aged children education on issues of energy optimization. 

With nearly 300 days of sunshine every year and a government intent on removing obstacles to entrepreneurship and investment, Arizona offeres vast potential for solar developers. This summit provided a way for influential minds to combine their intellectual resources in order to reshape Arizona’s energy markets through business-friendly policymaking, innovative programs, and technological advancement.