Renew Missouri Pushes for Higher Sustainable Energy Standards

The advocacy group Renew Missouri filed a ballot initiative Friday aiming to strengthen Missouri’s renewable energy standards.

By Camille Phillips (Columbia, Mo.)

A 2008 state law passed by Missouri voters requires investor-owned utilities to get 15 percent of the power they provide to Missourians from renewable sources by 2021. Renew Missouri director P.J. Wilson helped draft the law. He said the law is being misinterpreted.

“You have to read the whole law. It says this law applies to power generated or sold in Missouri, period.”

Wilson said the purpose of the new ballot initiative is to make sure electric companies are investing in growing renewable energy in Missouri, not buying power too far away to be clearly traceable to Missouri on the grid.

“The purpose of the initiative was for them to change the behavior and develop renewable energy to sell to their customers," he said. "What they want to do is not change their behavior and instead just raise rates and take that money and buy pieces of paper representing renewable energy in faraway places.”

The new ballot also increases the renewable energy requirement to 25 percent by the year 2025. But it still only applies to investor-owned utilities like Ameren.

Wilson said he didn’t include municipalities or cooperatives because he wants the ballot to pass, and because many co-ops are investing in renewable energy on their own.

Renew Missouri is in the process of gathering more than 100,000 signatures to get the measure on the November 2012 ballot.