Oklahoma has hired an energy czar.
Officials announced Friday that Rick Krysiak will be the state energy program director.
He is charged with coordinating and implementing efforts to reduce energy costs and promote energy efficiency throughout state government.
It’s a new position at the state Office of Management and Enterprise Services. He starts next week.
Krysiak has been director of physical plant services at Oklahoma State University, where he led the effort to design and oversee energy efficiency initiatives. OSU officials said earlier this year the effort led to energy savings of $20 million since 2007.
The energy savings strategies focused on behavior-based solutions, such as setting heating and air-conditioning on run times matching building occupancy patterns.
Gov. Mary Fallin, who has made energy efficiency a priority in her administration, signed legislation in May that requires state agencies reduce their energy costs 20 percent by the year 2020 when compared with utility expenditures for the 2012 fiscal year, which ended June 30.
OSU’s energy savings allowed the university to save dollars on energy that can be spent inside its classrooms, Fallin said. OSU officials have said energy savings allowed OSU to open five new or renovated buildings on campus without increasing the overall maintenance and operation budget.
“We plan to replicate that success on a statewide basis, and to save hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars in the process,” Fallin said. “That money can then be used to support priorities like education and public safety, rather than wasted.”
Fallin said during a bill-signing ceremony for the legislation, Senate Bill 1096, that the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, a nonprofit group interested in advancing energy policies, has ranked Oklahoma as the fourth-worst state in the nation as it relates to energy conservation and energy efficiencies.
The legislation states that all costs associated with its implementation will be fully funded by savings generated as a result of energy conservation. Conservative projections show the state could potentially reduce energy consumption by 20 to 30 percent, resulting in about $300 million to $500 million in net savings over 10 years, Fallin said.
Krysiak has been OSU’s director of physical plant services since 2006 and has 23 years of experience in facilities and infrastructure operations and maintenance. Before going to OSU, he served as chief of engineering at Altus Air Force Base.