Three states and one U.S. territory have been selected by the National Governors Association (NGA) to participate in a program to encourage growth of their clean energy industries.

Arizona, Minnesota, Mississippi, and Puerto Rico were the states chosen to participate in the program, called the NGA’s Policy Academy on Targeting Clean Energy for Economic Development.
The objective of this initiative is to assist states in aligning economic development and energy strategies that foster growth in clean energy industries, according to the NGA.

The approach will combine tools and strategies of both economic development and energy policy to help states tap into growing markets in the U.S. and abroad. The aforementioned states also will cover a range of technologies, including renewable energy, energy efficiency and biofuels.

“This is a great opportunity to help promote economic development within Arizona’s renewable energy industry,” Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer said in a statement released by the NGA.

“By bringing together public and private stakeholders to help develop and advance sound policy, Arizona is uniquely positioned to benefit from the success of this emerging market,” Brewer said.

Katie Clark Sieben, commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED), echoed similar sentiments.

“This is a terrific opportunity for Minnesota to further develop industries in areas of renewable energy, energy efficiency and biofuels,” Sieben said in a statement released by DEED, Minnesota’s principal economic development agency.

“Disruptive technologies could drive massive economic transformations in the coming years, and we want Minnesota to be at the forefront of this global opportunity,” Sieben said.

According to DEED, Sieben and Ellen Anderson, who chairs the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, have been designated as Minnesota team leaders.

Selected states will be guided through a strategy development process aimed at understanding local strengths and economic opportunities, building a competitive business base across the supply chain and growing the market for clean energy technologies products and services.

An NGA policy academy is a highly interactive, team-based, multi-state process in which a number of states develop and implement an action plan to address a complex public policy issue. Participating states receive guidance and technical assistance from NGA staff and faculty experts, as well as consultants from the private sector, federal agencies, research organizations and academia.

Funding for this project is provided by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable, with additional support from Advanced Energy Economy, a national trade association that represents the interests of the advanced energy industry.

DEED says that as part of the policy academy, Minnesota will receive a $5,000 grant to support a governor’s summit along with travel support for four team members to participate in two policy academy meetings. The Minnesota team also will receive customized technical assistance from the NGA Center for Best Practices throughout the project, which will run from November 2013 to September 2014.


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