Energy Policy and Missouri
The case revives long-running arguments over how the renewable energy law is implemented. The measure, approved as Proposition C in 2008, requires investor-owned utilities to use renewable energy for a fraction of electricity sales.
The law says the use of renewable energy cannot cause electric rates to rise more than 1 percent from what they would be otherwise. The rate cap provision in the rules was at the heart of the legal battle.
The PSC rules require utilities to use a 10-year average when calculating the 1 percent rate impact to allow for higher upfront costs.
Disappointed with how the 2008 ballot measure turned out, the state's renewable energy industry resolved to fix what it considered broken. The group is setting out to put in place a more aggressive green power mandate -- one that would put Missouri on par with Illinois.
The bill would cut the mandate for renewable energy about in half, resulting in utilities deriving 7 percent, rather than 15 percent, of their electricity from green fuels by 2020. It also would eliminate a controversial provision that allowed utilities to receive credit for subsidizing out-of-state renewable projects.
A Missouri legislative committee has salvaged the state's renewable energy law, but it looks like it had to be considerably weakened to succeed. At least, renewable energy advocates say, the requirement for state-sourced clean energy has survived earlier attacks.
Officials pushing the bills say that energy prices soar and consumers suffer when utilities are required to allocate a certain percentage of electricity from renewable sources like wind and solar. Clean energy groups counter that lowering the bar on state renewable energy policies would stifle new investment and kill jobs.
A 2008 law passed by voters requires that utilities use at least 15 percent renewable energy by 2021.
On Monday the senate voted against a part of the rules saying the energy must be produced in the state of Missouri.
County officials say this could hurt the chances of the trade wind farm coming to Adair and Sullivan counties.
Senators voted 29-2 to reject part of the rules developed by state regulators. At issue is a portion of the rule that requires the electricity from renewable energy sources be produced or sold in Missouri. Critics of the rule said that requirement goes beyond the law approved by voters.
PSC member Jeff Davis was one of two commissioners, both Republicans, to vote against the new rule. He says that Missouri renewable energy companies are trying to 'stick up" consumers by forcing them to pay higher rates for their product.
"What you are witnessing here is an attempted train robbery of consumers," Davis told a House committee that passed the resolution 8-3 on Wednesday.
Fertilized with federal stimulus money, 100 new wind turbines have cropped up among the soybean fields of northwest Missouri, and they're generating some high-voltage sparks in Missouri's U.S. Senate race.
The upfront payments to Lost Creek, a $300-million-plus project, and various other projects aren't awarded competitively but on the basis of meeting various criteria. For instance, companies were required to submit accredited designs and start building by the end of this year. Energy Department officials described the process as automatic.
The utilities would be required to obtain at least 2 percent of their retail sales from renewable sources by 2011, increasing to 15 percent by 2021. The proposition also stated that no more than a 1 percent rate increase could be passed on to consumers for the energy.
But there is considerable debate about the voters' intent.
More than 20 months after Missourians voted to require electric utilities to get more of their power from renewable energy sources, rules putting the mandate in place are taking up a lot of energy in Jefferson City. The Public Service Commission spent months putting together regulations ...
But the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules.
Some Missouri residents who power their homes with wind turbines or solar panels won't need extra insurance.
The Missouri Public Service Commission on Thursday said it has changed course on requiring homeowners to buy liability insurance if they generate their own power and want to feed excess electricity back into the power grid.
Five petitions that would change Missouri law concerning renewable energy resources have met the standards for circulation, according to Secretary of State Robin Carnahan's office. ...The full text of all the proposed ballot measures will be available on the Secretary of State's website at www.sos.mo.gov/elections/2008petitions/08init_pet.asp.
Wind's contribution as an energy source will remain limited for now, because it's an inconsistent resource. Wind, for example, typically blows the least during the summer, when demand for electricity is greatest. ... Cost is another major challenge; Southworth estimated that wind power typically costs up to three times as much as coal power to generate. Its costs, however, are comparable to the expense of power produced using natural gas.
The bill encourages the development and utilization of technically feasible and economical technologies, creating cleaner and more sustainable forms of energy for the residents of Missouri. It sets targets for electricity generation from renewable fuel sources and features an amendment allowing citizens to generate their own energy to offset overall energy consumption - a process called "net metering."
CAMBRIA, Wis. -- With empty storefronts on the main drag and corn stubble stretching for miles in the surrounding hills, this fading farm town seems like a natural stop for the ethanol express.
Not to John Mueller, though. The 54-year-old stay-at-home dad has led a dogged battle to prevent a corn mill from building an ethanol plant up the hill from the village school. Concerned about air pollution, the water supply and the mill's environmental track record, Mr. Mueller and his group, Cambrians for Thoughtful Development, have blitzed the village's 800 residents with fliers, packed public meetings and set up a sophisticated Web site.
The mill has fought back with its own publicity campaign and local corn farmers have taken to the streets in tractors to show support. Now, as the mill races to build the $70 million plant, the matter is headed to the federal courthouse in Madison, 40 miles southwest.
The Sierra Club and Kansas City Power & Light Co. have signed an unusual accord in which the utility agreed to offset all the greenhouse gas emissions from a new coal-fired plant by adding wind power and taking steps to conserve energy on a large scale.
The Kansas City utility, which serves half a million customers in western Missouri and eastern Kansas, also pledged to cooperate with the Sierra Club on legislative and regulatory changes that would reduce the company's overall emissions of carbon dioxide by 20 percent by the year 2020.
In return, the Sierra Club will end its campaign against the utility's 850-megawatt coal-fired plant under construction in Missouri.