The Delta Grassroots Caucus (DGC) is a broad coalition of grassroots leaders in the eight-state Delta region. DGC is also a founding partner of the Economic Equality Caucus,
which advocates for economic equality across the USA.

Energy Policy Ideas for the Delta, Spring, 2012

Posted on June 20, 2012 at 03:07 PM

The Delta Caucus conference at the Clinton Center on May 4 at the Clinton Library featured an in-depth analysis of renewable energy, energy efficiency, green jobs and other energy policy issues.

We also heard from all four First Congressional District of Arkansas candidates: the incumbent, Rep. Rick Crawford (R-AR), Prosecutor Scott Ellington (D-Jonesboro), State Rep. Clark Hall (D-Phillips County), and ASU Economics Professor Gary Latanich (D-Jonesboro). Rep. Crawford shortly afterward became the Republican nominee and Scott Ellington became the Democratic nominee.

The First District candidates’ positions on energy policy and other issues as stated at the May 4 Clinton Library session and in their answers to the Delta Caucus questionnaire are summarized on the website at–click on “Caucus Articles” and scroll down to the June 7, 2012 article entitled, “DRA Wins House Vote; and 1st District Candidates’ Positions on Key Economic Issues.”

This is a very detailed, in-depth summary for our archives, and people will generally only read particular sections from speakers they were especially interested in. Please scroll down the document to find the headings for those subjects and presentations you would be most interested in reading. Speakers on energy policy included:

–Presentations from US Sen. Mark Pryor and Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe that focused on renewable energy and other energy issues;

–Alison Taylor, the international energy corporation Siemens, Inc. Vice President for Sustainability and Chief Sustainability Officer for Siemens in the USA, Canada and Latin America, as well as Chad Nobles and other Siemens executives;

–Delta Regional Authority Federal Co-Chairman Chris Masingill;

–Professor Elizabeth Hood, Arkansas State University, Arkansas BioSciences Institute, and board member of the Arkansas Advanced Energy Association, and an expert on biofuels and other energy initiatives;

–Steve Patterson, who heads the newly formed Arkansas Advanced Energy Association;

–David Baker, of Future Fuels, a corporation producing biodiesel and other energy products with a plant of more than 500 employees in Batesville, Arkansas;

–Martha Jane Murray, energy expert at the Clinton Foundation who is one of the managers for the Home Energy Assistance Loan program, which works in conjunction with Gov. Mike Beebe’s office and others in conducting energy retrofits which are paid for by the savings in energy bills;

–Stacy Bullock, manager for Murray State University’s renewable energy initiative in western Kentucky.

Siemens, Inc. is a multi-billion dollar international energy corporation that engages in a wide range of activities in the Delta and across the country. Among their activities discussed at the conference were included:


An energy retrofit at Crittenden Memorial Hospital in West Memphis, Arkansas resulted in savings of more than 1.68 million kilowatt hours per year for a rate of energy and operational savings of $3.9 million over 15 years;

Three new projects in Vicksburg, Greenville and Cleveland, Mississippi, resulting in ongoing annual savings for just those three cities of $1,617 million a year, with many other projects planned for the region. Siemens works with the Clinton Foundation and many other organizations in promoting energy efficiency and green jobs in many projects across the country.


ASU Professor Elizabeth Hood is Distinguished Professor, College of Agriculture and Technology and an expert on biofuels and other bio-based products. She discussed a number of new organizations and initiatives in Arkansas in recent years focused on developing the great economic potential for biofuels and bio-based products, utilizing the resources of our region. Her presentation included an overview of the ASU BioSciences Institute, one of five institutes in Arkansas set up eight years ago from tobacco settlement funds in roder to build research programs to improve the health of Arkansans.

Professor Hood said that the ASU BioSciences Institute focuses on plant bio-technology to use plants ro produce pharmaceutical types of proteins, as well as biofuels and bio-based products. A consortium opf researchers in Arkansas collaborate to build the technology necessary to produce biofuels and bio-based produccets from agricultural sources, whether from agricultural residues or crops grown from bio-based products.

The Arkansas Research Alliance led by Jerry Adams, formerly of Acxiom Corp., held a series of conferences in recent months on nine areas of expertise to build critical mass and expertise needed to move research projects into economic development. The research ideas can be patented and translated into small business initiatives and other economic initiatives. Professor Hood chaired a conference last October (with follow-up activities that are ongoing) in which 22 representaives from universities and industries determined how to build research programs to serve companies in the state with necessary technology.

Dr. Hood said the Delta Economic Development Center at ASU promotes economic progress focusing on small business and entrepreneurialism. They are working to develop bio-based industries in the Delta in conjunction with Alt Consulting and a new organization called the Arkansas Advanced Energy Association (AAEA). Dr. Hood serves on the board of the AAEA foundation, and she introduced Steve Patterson, who heads up AAEA to explain the goals of this new trade association.

Professor Hood summarized the ASU STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education program focusing on K-12 education. Utilizing sources of funding that include a grant from the National Science Foundation, ASU sends graduate students to Delta schools to conduct experiements with students and teacher and otherwise encourage the STEM disciplines.

The Bio-Sciences Institute has an outreach program to bring public school students to ASU, and over the last eight years a total of 5,000 students have come to the Institute . Hood said it is very important to encourage interest in science, technology and mathematics in K-12.


Steve Patterson works with Professor Hood and many others who have expertise in energy issues across Arkansas. Many Delta Caucus partners are familiar with Steve Patterson for his many years of distinguished service as chief of staff to former US Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR), and there is great interest in his new initiative with AAEA. Over the last year and a half this new organization has organized the diverse sector to determine what to do to make the energy sector move forward. Garry McChesney (a colleague of another of our speakers, David Baker of Future Fuels chemical company) is chairman of the AAEA board.

Patterson said a frequent question people ask him is “What is advanced energy?” He defines it as any energy source that helps diversify our energy resources, helps use energy more productively, and reduce health and environmental costs. The AAEA does not discriminate regarding types of energy, saying that they favor any technology that helps their goals, including high performance buildings, energy efficiency for homes and farms, electric and plug-in hybrid cars, natural gas-fueled vehicle fleets, more efficient industrial processes, as well as solar, wind, biomass and nuclear energy.

Patterson pointed out that this sector has grown faster than the overall Arkansas economy since 2003. The AAEA sees the Arkansas Delta as one of the leading opportunities in advanced energy. They joined a consortium including ASU, the Arkansas Green Energy Network, ALT Consulting, a group of colleges in the Delta to collaborate on this set of issues. One initiative that the Delta Caucus partners will want to watch the development of is the Delta biofuels demonstration project, through which this network plans to prove that renewable feedstocks can be grown abundantly in the Arkansas Delta and then be used to produce bio-based products that can replace petroleum-based products. Patterson emphasized that any activity that can add value to forest and industry will bring new investment and create jobs.

Patterson said that Mid-South Community College in West Memphis has developed a micro bio-refinery that can be placed in Delta communities for them to consume and also sell. Patterson emphasized that the AAEA sees a great deal of opportunity in the Delta, especially in biofuels. They have engaged 60 business, research and educational leaders over the past year and a half, with three working groups: energy efficiency, renewable energy and alternative fuels.

The consensus among the AAEA network is that Arkansas can become a net energy exporter of energy, as opposed to the current circumstances in which the state spends $2.5 billion each year on energy resources from outside the state. The resources in the Arkansas Delta have a great deal of potential to aid in making the state a net energy exporter.

It would be a huge benefit to the entire region if all eight Delta areas of our states could help in this process of becoming energy exporters.


Chad Nobles of Siemens discussed the extensive range of activities of the multi-billion dollar corporation that has four sectors: health care, energy, industry–incluiding chemical, water and industrial activities, and infrastructure and cities, which focuses on the need for improving infrastructure in the Delta and across America.

Nobles said that today a little over 80% of energy in the USA still comes from fossil fuels and about 10% from alternative and renewable sources, but by 2030 the alternative and renewable sources will go up to 20%. Sources such as wind, solar, and biomass have great potential for growth, but these projects can be held up by regulations or by insufficient financial returns or the returns are perceived as taking too long. Nobles emphasized the great importance of meeting these challenges and developing strong domestic sources of energy that protect the environment, reduce emissions and suppport the economy.

Nobles pointed out that there is a large influx of natural gas, due to the fact that there is a savings of about $2 per gallon in converting fleets of vehicles such as buses, waste vehicles and others to compressed natural gas.

Siemens has a wide array of activities in promoting solar, wind and waste to energy projects. One recent project in the heart of the Delta was a waste to energy project utilizing municipal solid waste from the Baton Rouge, Louisiana landfill, in which they capture methane produced from the landfill and then the city sells it to Exxon. They use it to produce electricity and this project will generate approximately $30 million over the next 20 years for the city of Baton Rouge in a sustainable, environmentally friendly way.

Another area of activity for Siemens is water, such as re-use projects. As an example of a project with great potential to replicated in other areas, Nobles cited a project at an Air Force base in which most of the water had been going to irrigation. The city sends potable water to them. The project involves capturing gray water from the back side of the waste water treatment plant. They built a lake on the grounds and now they get water for irrigation from the back side of the waste water treatment plant, leading to savings in water and electricity while reducing emissions.

Nobles said a frequent question for Siemens is “How do you fund these projects?” One important method is performance contracting, in which infrastructure improvements are funded out of operational and energy savings. Siemens will guarantee that recipients of the services will get a certain amount of savings out of which to pay for the investment in infrastructure improvements. If the savings are not as great as Siemens had promised, they will cut you a check for the difference, so they take the risk.

President Bill Clinton has constantly advocated for the kind of innovative energy activities that Siemens is now bringing to a reality in the Delta, and the Clinton Foundation has collaborated with Siemens on a number of constructive projects.

There have been many beneficial Siemens projects funded in the Delta, such as the projects cited above in this message involving $3.9 million in savings over 15 years at Crittenden Memorial Hospital in West Memphis, Arkansas, and projects in Vicksburg, Greenville and Cleveland, Mississippi involving $1.617 million in savings a year.

In addition to performance contracting there are other methods of funding, including public-private partnerships and power purchase agreements. In the latter method, Siemens puts up the infrastructure improvements and their initial capital outlay is returned when the community, business or other recipient pay for the power. Siemens has a wide variety of innovative funding methods and we encourage all our Delta Caucus partners to take advantage of these opportunities to create jobs, improve energy efficiency and otherwise enhance our region’s potential in the energy field.


The Delta Caucus praised FutureFuel Chemical Company for its impressive accomplishments in the energy field: the FutureFuel plant based in Batesville, Arkansas has reached a capacity of 45 million gallons of biodiesel, employs over 500 people at their plant, and has now been named by Forbes as one of the top 20 small public companies in America as ranked by sales and earnings growth. Renewable energy holds major potential to create jobs, reduce dependence on foreign oil and promote sustainable development in the Delta, and FutureFuel is one of the leading innovators in our region.

David Baker of FutureFuel spoke on the energy policy panel about his company’s gains since they purchased the Batesville facility from Eastman chemical company in 2006. FutureFuel has doubled their revenue since 2006. They had a 41% gain in revenue last year and a 52% gain in income. They are listed on the New York Stock Exchange.


FutureFuel engages in a wide variety of activities in the chemical and fuels fields, with their activities in the biofuels area being of special interest for our organization. When they bought the facility in 2006, biofuels was in its infancy and they produced only a few million gallons. But by the end of 2011, they produced 35 million gallons a year, and as of March, 2012, they are producing at an annual rate of 45 million gallons.

Baker said the company saw the need to change from standard crops like soybeans because the margins were too compressed. He said some smaller companies had suffered from policies that were not sustainable over the long term. FutureFuel changed its technology and they now do not use anything out of the food chain buy materials such as waste oils.

Baker said FutureFuel applauds other companies and organizations that advocate for greater use of cellulosic sources of energy. He endorsed the work of the AAEA and agreed with Steve Patterson’s comment about the great potential and need to convert Arkansas and the rest of the region from a net importer to being a net exporter of energy.

Companies like FutureFuel depend heavily on scientists and engineers, and they partner with colleges in the area to bring in college students who are interested in those disciplines, Baker said, echoing Professor Hood’s emphasis on encouraging more students to gain expertise in science, technology and engineering.

Baker also stressed the importance of infrastructure. He said FutureFuel sells theiri products by truck, rail car or barge. They need 400 to 500 rail car movements a day. He said they had received a grant to improve their rail structure. These observations tied to a frequent theme during the conference on the importance of improving infrastructure.


An Arkansas news bureau article by Rob Moritz provides an excellent summary of the presentations by Sen. Mark Pryor and Gov. Mike Beebe on energy policy, and we relay that article below:


The United States must work towards energy independence and Arkansas has the necessary energy resources to help, leaders from across the eight-state Delta region heard today.

“Rural America really can contribute to the solution here,” U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., said during a speech at the Mississippi Delta Grassroots Caucus at the Clinton presidential library.

Pryor and Gov. Mike Beebe both spoke of the state’s abundance of natural gas in the Fayetteville Shale Play, the growth of wind-powered energy businesses in the state, development if biomass energy and the possibilities of lignite mining and oil drilling in south Arkansas. They urged urged the various entities to work together.

Pryor also said he supports the Keystone Pipeline project, which would construct a pipe line that would carry oil from Canada’s oil sands to the U.S. Gulf Coast. That project, he said, has been caught in presidential politics, but he thinks it will be approved after the November election.

He said he also supports more off-shore drilling for oil and natural gas. “We need to increase our domestic supply,” he said.

Pryor said he recently filed legislation that would require a quadrennial energy review, similar to the study done every four years of the nation’s defense system.

“Energy is vitally important to the U.S.. economy,” he said. “We need a smart long-term strategy. The first step is we need to figure what our assets are, what are liabilities are, where we are strong, where we are weak.”

Pryor also said one of the main reasons for the high price of gasoline is speculators who have no desire of actually producing oil into gas.

“Right now,” he said, “oil is the most actively traded commodity in the world and 70 percent to 80 percent of those buying and selling oil right now have no intention of ever taking possession of a drop of that oil. They wouldn’t know what to do if they got it.

“They are not drillers, not refiners, not pipeline people. They are there just trying to make a buck in the oil markets.”

Pryor said he has filed legislation that would require that at least 50 percent of those who participate in the buying, trading and selling of oil futures actually be in a position to take possession of the oil.

During his speech, Pryor spoke of the city of Paragould’s involvement in the federal Biomass Crop Assistance project.

Acreage in that city, along with cities in Missouri, Ohio and Pennsylvania, has been set aside to grow giant miscanthus, a grass that can be converted into energy to be used for heat, power, liquid biofuels and bio-based products.

The grass, which is currently growing in a designated area in the city, will be cut in 2014 and converted into biofuel, he said.

“We hope to create a bio-refinery (that will) create a lot of jobs in eastern Arkansas, I think 750 in the Paragould area,” he said.

Beebe spoke of technology to convert biomass into gasoline, saying it has been developed, but is still too expensive for commercial use.

“I’m convinced it’s going to happen,” he said. “I am terribly disappointed it hasn’t already happened on a grand scale, but that doesn’t dissuade my enthusiasm for the prospects for the future.”

The governor said he was “all about energy independence for America.”

“And if you are all about energy independence for America,” he said, “then every portion of that equation, every particular aspect of energy, has to be included,” he said, mentioning natural gas and gasoline production, along with renewable energies such as wind, solar, water, biomass.


We have already described the great participation at the May conference of DRA Federal Co-Chairman Chris Masingill, Alternate Co-Chairman Mike Marshall and the entire DRA staff, along with a summary of their accomplishments, in the earlier article on the website at, where you can click on “Caucus Articles” and scroll down to the May 24, 2012 article entitled “First in a Series on Arkansas Conference.”

On the renewable energy front, at the Clinton Library session DRA Federal Co-Chairman seconded Gov. Beebe’s comments, saying that the Delta is primed very well to take a national leadership role in renewable energy. Before assuming his post at the DRA, Masingill was a senior aide to Gov. Beebe on a wide range of key economic development issues.

If the Delta can beat our competitors in the Midwest, we will capture a brand new wealth transformation initiative. With the developing expertise, workforce training, creation of new commercial crops at the farm level and developing avenues to get them into the distribution system, renewable energgy can produce high-paying jobs with high skill sets. He encouraged all the Delta partners to make the necessary investments to capitalize on this opportunity.

Chairman Masingill pointed out that in the Delta we have hundreds of empty commercial buildings such as former chemical plants, processing facilities and the like, and it is a lot less expensive to retrofit a building for this type of technology than to build one from the ground up.

Masingill encouraged lending on the renewable energy front. To cite one example, we are already seeing progress in clustering manufacturing in northeast Arkansas in the wind energy sector.

Chairman Masingill has spearheaded the Growing Clean Technology Clusters in the Delta Initiative, which pursues opportunities in the emerging energy sector by building on the Delta’s assets including location, resources, and significant biomass production. The DRA is working on developing clean technology clusters in the region.

Under Chairman Masingill’s leadership the DRA has become a leader in promoting renewable energy in the Delta and his efforts should be strongly supported by all our partners.


Stacy Bullock of Murray State University discussed her work with the western Kentucky AgBioworks project. This program works to establish a network with farmers to grow energy crops, broaden and diversity agricultural production.

Murray State University has a longstanding record of supporting the Delta Grassroots Caucus activities, and their representatives have participated in our activities for many years over a long period of time. The regional coalition greatly appreciates the support from Ms. Bullock and other Murray State representative through the years.

Ms. Bullock acknowledged that it is a challenge to integrate new activities for farmers who are accustomed to working in different ways. She said the university has farmer education days on their university farms to inform the producers about renewable energy. The Governor’s Task Force in 2009 had the goal of making western Kentucky a leader in building biomass. Ms. Bullock agreed with ASU’s Professor Hood that there is significant opportunity to develop biomass across the Greater Delta region.

Bullock said the Delta region is blessed with abudndant energy crops and forest, and many energy crops do not interfere with food crops. As an example, she said eight farmers are growing sorghum in their program. Sorghum has such advantages as not needing a lot of water, and therefore has significant potential in creating biomass.

The Murray State University program is regional in scope, with partners in five states. They have received $130,000 in grants to facilitate their work in recent times. One of their major initiatives is a bio-energy demonstration center because “seeing is believing.” The project is considering a broad range of energy sources, including, for example equine waste. The educational compnent is crucial in persuading farmers that these activities have great potential and are viable. The university has held energy symposiums and many other activities as part of this educational initiative.

Bullock referred to the long-term goal of replacing 30% of the energy now being utilized from traditional sources with crops, trees, waste and other renewable energy by the year 2023. Innovative programs like that at Murray State are at the forefront of making progress toward the goals of promoting economic development, creating jobs, reducing dependence on foreign oil, and building a sustainable energy policy for America. The Delta has the potential to be the leading region in that goal.


Martha Jane Murray of the Clinton Foundation works on the Clinton Climate Initiative as well as the Home Energy Assistance Loan (HEAL) program, in which Gov. Beebe, the Clinton Foundation and other partners conduct energy retrofits that are paid for by the resulting savings in energy bills.

Ms. Murray said the Clinton Climate Initiative that was created seven years ago includes goals of working in a businesslike manner to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that create climate change. She said the program is in the 40 largest cities in addition to Arkansas. She praised Gov. Beebe’s strong support of the program’s efforts.

Murray is from Wynne in the Delta, and she said she created this energy efficiency program four years ago. She said this is energy conservation, and unlike some of the other energy projects discussed on May 4, it does not require new technology, it requires people getting jobs. She said the program especially helps people such as those State Rep. Clark Hall had discussed in his presentation who were aided by programs like LIHEAP, which helps low income senior citizens and other vulnerable populations pay their energy bills during severe weather.

Murray said she created the model for the HEAL program at her shoe factory in Wynne. HEAL leverages a program created by Entergy to create energy efficiency programs in Arkansas, providing incentives to businesses and home-owners to reduce energy use.

An audit at the Wynne facility projected a savings of $40,000 a year from the program for an initial investment of a total of $60,000, clearly demonstrating that the program pays for the initial costs rapidly and then keeps bringing in savings year after year. They then had the idea of taking those savings and putting them into a revolving loan fund. She informed her employees that they could get a free audit, and they had 25 people who participated and everyone paid the loans back and benefited from the program.

Murray then began working in the governor’s office, with support from the late Maria Healey at Arkansas Economic Development Commiission as well as then aide to Gov. Beebe and now DRA Federal Co-Chairman Chris Masingill. The benefits were demonstrated in each Congressional district in Arkansas. She said the program benefited from President Obama’s stimulus program and had a strong track record for creating jobs. She said these are jobs that can go to every community in the state and they do not require highly technical training. Arkansas has about 500,000 people who would qualify for assistance.

Murray pointed out that if LIHEAP funding is cut, many lower income vulnerable people will be hurt. But if the energy efficiency programs could become deeply extensive across the state, the entire Delta region and the nation, in many cases it would correct the problem of high energy bills in the first place and reduce these populations’ vulnerability. The program has succeeded in businesses, at Hendrix College, UAMS and elsewhere.

The foundation and their many partners have the goal of replicating this program in three states.


President Clinton commended the HEAL program and Martha Jane Murray in his recent book, Back to Work: Why We Need Smart Government for a Strong Economy. He wrote that Arkansas’ HEAL program is “unique;” employers first retrofit their buildings and then use the savings to offer loans to their employees to retrofit their houses. The employer is then paid back from the employees’ energy savings.” (Page 149, Clinton, Back to Work: Why We Need Smart Government for a Strong Economy, published in 2011).

President Clinton said the HEAL program “was developed by my Foundation’s Climate Initiative with a small grant from the state’s stimulus funding for clean energy. Martha Jane Murray, the architect who runs the program, also oversaw the Climate Initiative’s work on low-income housing retrofits in New Orleans after Katrina, where 50 percent energy savings were achieved.”

The idea behind HEAL, Clinton continued, “is to make workplace retrofits the norm and to create both the demand and the financing for employee residential upgrades.” The work now being conducted with HEAL’s employers and their employees is projected to save $250,000 a year and to create many jobs.

In summing up the HEAL program, Clinton wrote: “This is a public-private partnership that could be set up anywhere. The savings achieved and the jobs created should assure big-time expansion of the program.”


At the May 4 conference, Ms. Murray responded to a question from Jessica Vermilyea, a nonprofit leader from New Orleans, by saying that New Orleans and Louisiana were directly involved in the energy efficiency efforts, and in fact she started the porgram from her experiences in New Orleans, where she worked for two years with the Climate Initiative after Katrina.

Murray said they retrofitted 44 homes in the Lower Ninth Ward in 100 days, leading to the the savings President Clinton referred to compared to their pre-Katrina utility bills. The New Orleans experience gave her the idea of expanding those savings elsewhere. She said that working with key stakeholders such as regulatory commissions and utilities–and getting incentives through the utilities–are key for the program.


In response to another question from Ms. Vermilyea, Murray said that the energy retrofits initiative plans to include the elderly, disabled and the unemployed. One issue is the contrast between the situation in Arkansas and states like Ohio that have the ability to designate funds for low-income home owners. The Ohio situation is different from that in Arkansas. She said in Ohio they put more into the state programs than the federal government does. Ohio is sustaining and expanding their program.

David Knight of the Pine Bluff-Jefferson County EOC office said that his organization uses weatherization dollars for retrofits. He said the weatherization program in Arkansas this year did not receive any funding at all. He said that they are dealing with that by taking 15% of LIHEAP dollars and putting it into weatherization. Prospects are even more bleak for next year because the US House of Representatives is planning to cut 75% more, and this is a huge problem.

Knight also made one factual clarification based on his experience in Jefferson County. He said that Congressman Crawford was incorrect in stating that the energy efficiency part of the stimulus failed, because in fact it was the second largest job creator after roads. Knight was complimentary of the Entergy weatherization program funded by Entergy and praised the Clinton Foundation Climate Initiative for doing a “phenomenal job.”

Ms. Murray responded that public-private partnerships are very important, because we cannot just rely on federal or state funding. She acknowledged that the energy retrofit program needs to be much larger than it is currently. There are approximately 500,000 households in Arkansas who are eligible, and even at the peak of the stimulus the program only impacted about 2,000 homes a year.

Murray said the average cost of retrofits are about $1,500 per home. They don’t replace anything unless it is absolutely needed. The incentives and rebates average $500 to $1,000, so the net financing is about $500 to $800. Amounts of funding for LIHEAP could be used to leverage those funds further and fix those homes.


Alison Taylor is one of the top executives for Siemens, based in Washington, DC. She said that sustainability at Siemens is often defined in three ways:

First, there is the environmental component. The company has to be a good steward for the environment. Siemens depends on the environment so naturally conserving natural resources is one of their top priorities.

Secondly, there is the economic component. They have to develop strong business plans to continue serving their customers, employees and shareholders.

Thirdly, there is the societal or “people” pillar, in which the company strives to be a good corporate citizen.

Education is very important for the company, which needs smart engineers since it is a technology company. Siemens works on being good stewards for the communities they serve, because that’s where their employees live and that’s where they get their pool of employees.

Ms. Taylor said that customers like Wal-Mart sends questionnaires to them year after year asking whether Siemens is a sustainable supplier to them and whether Siemens has sustainable plans. She said questionnaires from their customers are excellent motivators and help keep them on the corporate edge of being good citizens.

Taylor said she knew that the Delta has seen hard times and needs stronger support for economic recovery and job creation, as well as improvements in infrastructure and public works. She said that in attracting jobs the region is finding itself at a disadvantage because of its infrastructure needs. She said crucial issues include clear drinking water, relieving pressures of rising energy prices, and making health care accessible and affordable in a system that is under-funded and over-worked.

While the Delta needs to make investments in these vital fields, Taylor said this is a time when the region has never been so cash-strapped and many communities find it very hard to provide these investments. Siemens acknowledges the challenges but Taylor emphasized that the obstacles are not insurmountable, and in her presentation she gave examples of many ways Siemens is devising creative ways of financing these vital projects.

Before describing examples of performance contracting and other innovations of her company, Taylor gave some background on the illustrious history of Siemens: the company is 164 years old, operates in 190 countries, and has 60,000 employees in the USA alone.


Siemens has a remarkable history in technological innovation: they laid the first trans-Atlantic cable, invented the first electric train, invented the first traffic lights, and put the first electric lights in the cities of Europe.

Siemens is currently ranked first in light rail vehicles in the United States, and the company builds the most efficient gas turbine in the world at its Charlotte, North Carolina facility.

Ms. Taylor recalled a conversation she had with one of our Delta Caucus partners from a community college in Mississippi at the conference, in which she cited their policies at the Charlotte, NC facility as providing a good role model for the Delta. Siemens needed qualified people to work for the gas turbine facility, so they partnered with the local community college to develop a program where the locals could get a concentrated education on skills needed in the local plant and gain employment there. This is a model the Delta could follow constructively in incentivizing your industry to find local training and local employment.

Taylor pointed out that Siemens is a worldwide leader across the smart grid spectrum. They have installed fully one third of all the hospital imaging equipment such as catscans and MRIs in the world.

Siemens’ business has focused for a long time on three sectors: energy, industry and health care. But they recently added a new emphasis on cities, communities and infrastructure. In collaboration with other experts, they produced a green cities index in which they gathered information on cities in all continents to rank them on nine environmental factors.

In creating this index, Siemens was ranking some cities who were its customers and some fared better than others. But she said that for those who were toward the bottom of the index, it served as a call to action, as those cities went to their decision makers and asked what steps needed to be taken to do better. Out of the experience of develing the green cities index, four lessons about best practices to increase sustainability emerged:

1) They found that cities are not waiting for Washington, DC to take action on climate change or energy policy, and there was great action and innovation by the cities. Many cities have their own targest, they are not waiting for targets and in some cases are not waiting for funding. They are setting their own targets on climate change, air emissions transportation, and other key policies and not waiting for direction from Washington.

2) Secondly, they found that “green” investments are always good for the bottom line. What is good for the environment is also good for their bottom line. Whether it’s solar energy or energy efficient lighting, they find that they get lower energy bills while they are doing something good for the environment.

3) Another key finding, Taylor said, was that “Infrastructure is where it’s at.” Many cash-strapped cities have been putting aside investments for years, but now is the time to figure out ways to invest and replace inadequate infrastructure.

4) Finally, they found that creative financing is key to leading cities to sustainability. “It doesn’t take a lot of green to go green in every instance,” she said. Some partner with companies like Siemens and ask them to make the up-front investments.

Taylor said that much useful knowledge was developed from this green index for cities–big and small cities alike–and said there is a great deal of information on this subject at the website,

–Any city can do a tree-planting organization, getting school kids and local community colleges involved. –To get school children interested in local food systems, local food farms can be cultivated on school years. The schools have space in their yards, so this space can be utilized while teaching kids about local foods and nutrition. –Such communities as Pittsburgh have developed “green tail-gating,” thus combining sports events with ecuation about recycling and environmental benefits. –In conjunction with chambers of commerce and the National Chamber of Commerce, Siemens developed sustainable communities awards. Percival, Virginia, won the small community award with innovations on stream buffers, methods for conserving streams, trails for walking and bicycling, and developing leadership in sustainable wine vineyards.


Even more importantly, Siemens has focused on ways to help communities pay for making these investments. These do not have to be big investments, because even small investments can create a big change for the bottom line, the environment and the quality of life.

As an example of a constructive project in a smaller city, Taylor cited their project in Salina, Kansas, a community with a population of about 47,000 that had an aging, manual metering system that had problems with inaccuracy and leaking. The city and its people were losing money. Employees had to estimate the meters, and in inclument weather they could not get out there to read the meters.

Siemens’ answer was a new automated system that saved money and was more accurate. The total net savings wound up being $13.7 million over 15 years.

The City of Salina did not pay a penny up front. Siemens made the initial investment, and the city paid the company back based on savings they were making over time. Utilizing performance contracting, Siemens contractually guaranteed the savings that would be realized by replacement of the aging meters, and if the city did not realize those savings, Siemens committed to pick up the difference.

Performance contracting has been used in the Delta and in other regions and is particularly useful for communities that cannot make the capital up-front investments.

Another example of a beneficial project for a smaller city was a project in Cleburne, Texas–population 30,000-in response to problems that theity was over-paying for water due to inaccurate meter readings. Siemens tested the meters and found that they could save $550,000 in the first year by implementing automatic meter reading.

The Cleburne project will pay for itself in 13 years–another example of an opportunity to fund projects without significant up-front capital.


The City of Greenville, Mississippi needed crtical improvements in water meters, street lighting, traffic upgrades and renovations to old city buildings.

Replacing street lighting with LED lighting (Light Emitting Diode, a major innovation in energy-efficient lighting) leads to saving maintenance and money. In Greenville Siemens retrofitted 13,500 residential and commercial water meters and installed programmable thermostats in city buildings that help conserve energy. 49 intersections were retrofitted with LED lamps.

These improvements led to a guaranteed performance contract for Greenville with $750,000 in annual savings over a pay-back period of 15 years.

Siemens partnered with other communities in the region such as Vicksburg, Mississippi, DeSoto County, Cleveland, Missisissippi and Southaven, Mississippi (population about 29,000) to save millions of dollars, reduce carbon dioxide emissions and improve energy efficiency.

In the Southaven project, critical infrastructure improvements saved the community approximately $32,500 a year. But the money savings was not all: through carbon dioxide savings, Southaven saved the equivalent of getting 190 cars off the road. The project saved the community the equivalent in electricity to power 170 homes a year.

Taylor said that while Siemens understand capital is tight and cash is not flowing, but the Delta’s choices do not have to be constrained. The future success of the region will hinge on communities’ ability to deploy these technologies that are available today. She said, “We’ll need the leadership of a lot of you in this room more than ever before to make these changes.”

One community leader said he was enthused about Siemens’ energy retrofits, but wondered if there was a “catch” such as minimum community size or a down-payment.

Taylor said that there is not a size limit and communities under 50,000 people can benefit from these projects. Much of it is “understanding and education,” she said. Siemens has demonstrated the technology and the savings, and it’s a question of believing in the savings nad having a good partner who can analyze and quantify the projects and their savings.

The community leader asked where he could apply for the program.

Chad Nobles of Siemens said that much depends on whether the legislation exists that allows cities to do these projects. A private owner can do it right away. 49 of the 50 states have legislation that allows K-12, universities, cities and counties’ governments to do this.

Unfortunately, Arkansas does not allow city and county governments to do this. Arkansas has it for higher education and K-12. Nobles emphasized that we need local legislation to work on how these projects are funded by county and local governments.

Caucus director Lee Powell noted that Arkansas Municipal League Don Zimmerman, Delta legislators such as Mark McElroy–soon to be an Arkansas representative for southeast Arkansas–and other supporters of energy retrofits in the state should immediately redouble their efforts to pass legislation facilitating energy efficiency projects like those of Siemens in our state.

Siemens, Inc., does a great deal of good across the Delta in renewable energy and energy retrofits, and we look forward to working with the Clinton Foundation, Gov. Beebe’s office, the Delta Congressional delegations from our eight states, and state legislatures to support and expand their activities across the region.