Proposition C was passed by the voters in November of last year, mandating that Missouri utilities be using 15 percent renewable energy by 2021.
How that mission will be carried out is what the Public Service Commission set out to find out.
"We decided to set up a workshop format to allow all stakeholders, consumers, parties, vendors, wind power, solar power to take part in how the rule will be written that will implement Proposition C, and that’s what’s going on right now," says Robert Clayton, PSC chairman.
Clayton says Missouri needs to maximize the number of renewable resources that are available in the state of Missouri.
"We have a number of wind resources in Northwest Missouri and Northeast Missouri that can be brought online," he says. "This rule will decide whether or not those resources will be made a priority … and will suggest how we’re going to address solar power, which generally is not done on a large scale, but on a smaller scale, house to house with solar panels. The nuts and bolts in how this works, that’s what we’re doing with this rule-making."
Once the utilities maximize resources in Missouri, they’re going to have to look at other places: Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas … all of which are moving along rapidly in the renewable energy field, Clayton says.
So what kind of feedback has the PSC gotten so far? Well, that depends on who you ask, he says.
"I think generally speaking utilities are more negative, they’re concerns are that it’s too difficult, too costly, too expensive to get those renewable resources to their customers here in Missouri," Clayton says. "If you talk to the people in the solar industry, or the wind industry, they’re very positive and they’re saying ‘look, we’ve got resources in place now we’ve got projects in the works, that we can get that power here.’"
By 2021, it’s going to be a completely different market for electricity, he says.
"Potentially we’ll have a tax or some type of cap and trade system for carbon, it’s going to be much more expensive, and that’s going to enable new renewable resources to come online. We’re just going to have to see and time will tell if they meet those mandates or not."
There’s still time to get your ideas or opinions to the PSC regarding the rule-making process. Visit http://www.psc.mo.gov.
Clayton says the PSC may be hosting another workshop to gather information, and that updates will be posted on the commission’s Web site.
Jessica Machetta interviews Robert Clayton [Download/listen MP3]