The Arkansas Community Foundation's Sustainable Energy Initiative has given away two-million-dollars in grants.
The Sustainable Energy Initiative is funded by the John W. Turk plant legal settlement in southwest Arkansas.
"We are pleased to award these grants to support public policy initiatives designed to develop energy efficiency, renewable energy and otherwise sustainable energy resources in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas and Louisiana," said Heather Larkin, Arkansas Community Foundation President and CEO.
A committee led by members the Board of Directors of Arkansas Community Foundation and including several citizens with diverse perspectives on environmental issues developed the Sustainable Energy initiative. Factors that were considered by a panel which awarded the grants included:
- Potential to benefit sustainable energy policy.
- Capacity of the organization to achieve the results outlined in the proposal.
- Evidence of a plan for evaluating the project.
- Potential for sustainability beyond the grant period.
- Evidence of cooperation or collaboration with other organizations working in the same field.
- Evidence of local financial support and the likelihood of future support for the project or program.
- Innovation and creativity of the approach.
OSN's grant will allow the organization to participate in utility proceedings with the goal of reducing long-term ratepayer costs, conserving water resources, avoiding the need for expensive new fossil-fueled power plants and producing new business investment in Oklahoma. The Wind Coalition grant will help increase transmission resources for renewable wind and solar power within Arkansas, Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana.
The APPP grant will allow the Panel to build strategies to strengthen the base of advocates in the state while providing support for developing policies that encourage energy efficiency, renewable energy development and green jobs. The grant to AAEF will help establish an Advanced Energy Regulatory Research and Initiative Reserve Fund to support business advocacy for renewable energy and energy efficiency in sustainable energy resource proceedings before the Arkansas Public Service Commission.
The AAE grant will fund the pursuit of energy efficiency and renewable energy policy goals in Louisiana working with the New Orleans City Council and the Louisiana Public Service Commission. The grant to the ASC will fund a program designed to help Arkansas municipalities optimize energy efficiency and renewable energy policy implementation and deployment.
Arkansas Community Foundation makes grants to improve the quality of life in our state and collaborates with individuals, families and organizations to build local communities through philanthropy. ARCF ended fiscal year 2012 with more than $150 million in assets and has provided more than $98 million in grants since it began operation in 1976. Contributions to ARCF, its funds and any of its 27 local affiliate offices are fully tax deductible.
The Sierra Club and Audubon Arkansas shared their reactions in the following emailed statements:
"We are very pleased about the high caliber of projects that will be funded by this settlement," said Glen Hooks , Senior Regional Representative for the Sierra Club's Beyond Coal Campaign. "As a result of the settlement, Arkansas and states in our region will benefit from projects that will lead to cleaner and more efficient sources of energy. Much credit is due to the thousands of Sierra Club and Audubon volunteers who fought the Turk plant for years--their efforts will lead to great things for Arkansas and our region."
"The effects of the $2M in grant awards for policy efforts to ramp up 'green energy' in Arkansas and surrounding states will benefit citizens for years to come," said Ellen Fennell, Executive Director for Audubon Arkansas. "We appreciate the support and efforts of Audubon and Sierra Club members which allowed us to secure significant conservation victories for the region through this settlement."
The grants were awarded through Arkansas Community Foundation's Sustainable Energy Initiative to the Applied Sustainability Center (ASC) at the Sam Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas, the Alliance for Affordable Energy (AAE) of Louisiana , the Arkansas Advanced Energy Foundation(AAEF), the Arkansas Public Policy Panel (APPP), the Wind Coalition of Texas, the Oklahoma Sustainability Network (OSN), the Arkansas Community Action Agencies Association (ACAAA) and the Sustainable Energy & Economic Development (SEED) Coalition of Texas.