Missouri Voters Approve a Renewable Energy Requirement
November 12, 2008
Missouri voters have approved a measure that will require the state's investor-owned utilities to draw on renewable energy for 15% of their electricity supply by 2021. The Missouri Clean Energy Initiative, or Proposition C, passed easily, garnering approval from 66% of the state's voters and passing in every county but one. The statutory ballot measure defines renewable energy as wind power, solar thermal power, solar photovoltaic power, small hydropower, a variety of biomass energy sources, and fuel cells powered by hydrogen from renewable energy sources, but it also allows the Missouri Department of Natural Resources to designate new renewable energy sources. The measure requires at least 2% of the requirement to be met with solar energy, and it requires the utilities to offer their retail customers rebates of $2 per watt for customer-owned solar power systems, up to a limit of $50,000.
The ballot measure also allows utilities to buy their renewable power from out of state and to meet up to 100% of the requirement through the purchase of renewable energy credits (RECs), which can be bought from renewable energy facilities throughout the country. However, utilities cannot meet the requirements through the voluntary purchase of renewable energy by their customers, an approach known as "green pricing." Utilities that fall short of the requirement have to pay twice the going rate of the RECs needed for compliance, and the state will use that money to buy RECs and to support renewable energy and energy efficiency requirements. And to limit the impact of the measure on consumers, the cost impact of complying with the renewable energy requirement is capped at a 1% cost increase. The renewable requirement starts at 2% of sales in 2011 and gradually ratchets up to the 15% requirement by 2021. According to the Database of State Incentives for Renewable Energy (DSIRE), 28 states and the District of Columbia now have a mandatory requirement for renewable energy use. See the ballot measure, the election results from the Missouri Secretary of State, the Missouri Clean Energy Initiative Web site, and the DSIRE Web site.