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November 21, 2011

ULM’s Sutherlin testifies before Arkansas Legislature Energy Committee

University of Louisiana at Monroe Political Science Professor John W. Sutherlin appeared before the Joint Energy Committee of the Arkansas Legislature on Nov. 17 to provide evidence regarding renewable energy alternatives for the state.

Sutherlin, co-director of the ULM Social Science Research Lab, has worked with many states, including Louisiana, on a range of environmental and energy issues, so he was asked to appear and provide information specifically about solar energy.

"The renewable energy sector has matured over the past decade and is more competitive with traditional sources of energy," stated Sutherlin.

His presentation provided information about what has worked in other states that have offered rebates and incentives to encourage residential and commercial usage of solar energy. Also, Sutherlin discussed some of the technical hurdles faced by other renewable forms of energy such as wind turbines or biomass conversion.

Sutherlin added, "Renewable energy sources should be thought of as a supplement to existing sources, such as oil, natural gas or coal, but an infrastructure for renewables should be built so that solar or wind power can one day be on an equal footing with these."

Sutherlin and the SSRL will continue working with Arkansas legislators to develop incentive programs. Louisiana's incentive programs are generally regarded as the best in the United States, according to Sutherlin.

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