Pinal Partnership Breakfast Recap: Innovation and industry

(Photo via Pinal Central)

By Jodie Newell | Pinal Central

CASA GRANDE — The Inflation Reduction Act is having a significant impact on the Pinal County area, according to Hesston Klenk, director of state government relations at AES Clean Energy.

Klenk made his remarks at an “Innovation and Industry” Pinal Partnership breakfast held Friday morning at Central Arizona College’s Signal Peak Campus. Topics included renewable energy, challenges of filling skilled job openings and the communications industry.

Klenk joined a panel that included Rita Adiani from the Arizona Sonoran Copper Company, Mike Gomez from Southwest Gas, Cindy Bell from Alluvion Communications and Nikola Motor Co. President of Energy Carey Mendez.

Klenk said that the federal government’s recently passed IRA would encourage locally based renewable energy projects. Klenk also said with the location of Pinal County and abundant land availability, it would be a key player and innovator in the renewable energy sector.

“Regardless of how you feel about that bill, from a political standpoint it is creating a kind of gold rush for renewable energy in the U.S. and the future is really bright for development of projects in Arizona,” he said. “There is so much open land available in the Southwest of the United States compared to the East. This is going to be the epicenter of renewable energy development.”

Mendes told the audience that he concurred with Klenk’s remarks and was of the opinion that the IRA had driven interests in renewable and emerging technologies such as hydrogen.

“We want to partner with AES and we want to partner with just about anyone who’s interested in hydrogen. We fully agree with the fact that the IRA has given us a lot of tailwinds now,” observed Mendes. “We’ve got people coming into the hydrogen space when a year ago, they wouldn’t talk to us. They’re now coming and asking, ‘How can we partner with you?’”


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