Senator McCaskill is taking an energy tour throughout the state to see how researchers, utilities and energy stakeholders are moving our state forward.

From pond-scum farms, miscanthus grass, nuclear rods and more … McCaskill says she’s learning a lot on this tour. She says technology and research are key to protecting the environment but doing it with affordability and reliability.

McCaskill says she wants Missouri to be competitive in the energy sector as well as create new jobs and keep costs in check.

McCaskill is visiting St. Louis, Kansas City, Cape Girardeau, and the Springfield and Hannibal this week, speaking with energy researchers and stakeholders. The Missourinet caught up with the Seantor in Columbia, where she took a tour of the plant that has supplied power for that city for 100 years.

The plant uses a mix of 20 percent wood chips-from scraps of oak wine barrels made in Missouri-with 80 percent coal to produce power. This summer, the plant will do a test-burn on biomass.

She says there are some voters who think research should be left to the private sector … she says that’s not possible. Professors and researchers at the University of Missouri, Missouri S & T in Rolla and Washington University have been a part of the talks … all of whom she says are making huge strides in sustainability and renewable resources.

She says moving forward in the energy sector will help grow and expand Missouri businesses, such as opening up alternative forms of energy production and focusing on energy efficiency.

AUDIO: Jessica Machetta reports (1:10 min.)