2020 Energy & Environment Awards
On November 13, 2020, the Arkansas Department of Energy and Environment (E&E), along with Governor Asa Hutchinson, announced the winners of the 2020 Energy and Environment Awards at the Old State House Museum. The awards ceremony highlighted what Arkansas companies are doing in areas of sustainability, innovative technology, and energy and environmental stewardship. The ceremony included a competitive student award, E&E Quest Science Award, and three prestigious awards: the Arkansas Energy and Environment Stewardship (ENVY) Award; the Arkansas Energy and Environment Technology (TECHe) Award; and the Energy Excellence (E²) Award.
2020 ENVY Award Winner
Union County Water Conservation Board was chosen as the winner of the ENVY Award. Union County Water Conservation Board started the Sparta Aquifer Recovery Initiative’s project to address critical groundwater issues. Union County’s once pristine and plentiful groundwater source, the deep underground Sparta aquifer had been over-pumped and faced looming irreparable damage. Through the project, Union County met its goal to reduce groundwater consumption by sustaining the aquifer and removing the threat of irreparable damage to the county’s drinking water source through compaction and saltwater intrusion.
2020 TECHe Award Winner
Indigo Agriculture, Anheuser-Busch, and Dagan were presented the TECHe Award. Indigo Agriculture, Anheuser-Busch, and Dagan partnered in 2019 to grow rice sustainably, with less water, nitrogen, and greenhouse gas emissions to address growing concerns of the large carbon footprint of rice production. Across 11,000 acres, 29 Arkansas rice farmers have enrolled in the program and adopted several sustainable management practices. In the first year of the program, Arkansas farmers achieved a 23.7% average decrease in water use, a 13.3% average reduction in nitrogen applications, and a 26.6% average reduction in methane emissions.
2020 E2 Award Winner
Clarksville Connected Utilities was named the recipient of the E2Award. Clarksville Connected Utilities partnered with Scenic Hill Solar to construct two power plants. The two solar farms will produce more than 9.3 megawatts of electricity. Together, they will power every municipal building with clean, renewable energy. Beyond the city facilities needs being met with solar energy, Clarksville Connected Utilities, as a municipal utility, is in a unique position with its wind, hydro, landfill gas, and solar supply. With the rain conditional of 2019, 61% of its entire utility power supply was non-emitting with 48% being hydro power.
2020 E&E Quest Science Award Recipient
Surabhee Eswaran is a student at Little Rock Central High School and is the recipient of the E&E Quest Science Award. Surabhee recognized the challenge to relieve water scarcity in rural areas and began formulating ideas to sustainably manage the natural resources of fresh water. Surabhee’s project focused on developing an automated irrigation system. She tested the voltage of banana plants, which served as an indicator of a plant’s moisture level, to create an automated irrigation system. Surabhee’s research proved the system was efficient because it only watered the plant when needed, increasing the plant's voltage and its moisture level. Central High School will receive an award of $500 to the school science program, and Surabhee will receive $500 to use for educational purposes.
ENVY Award Finalists
The 2020 Award finalists were: Union County Water Conservation Board; City of Fayetteville; and Entergy Arkansas. The ENVY Award recognizes a major effort by an individual or organization to enhance and protect Arkansas’s natural resources through sustainability programs and commitments to stewardship of the environment.
TECHe Award Finalists
The 2020 Award finalists were: Indigo Agriculture, Anheuser-Busch and Dagan; Flywheel Energy; and Ozark Electric Cooperative. The TECHe Award recognizes the advances or innovative use of technology that breaks new ground in protecting resources or improving the environment by going beyond traditional environmental control measures, approaches, or outcomes.
E2 Award Finalists
The 2020 Award finalists were: Stratton Seed Company; Southern Arkansas University Technical College; and Clarksville Connected Utilities. The E² Award recognizes organizations that demonstrate outstanding leadership by implementing forward-thinking initiatives in areas of energy efficiency and resiliency.