Renewable energy consumption in Missouri is trailing the rest of the nation, and coal is likely to remain a big part of the state’s energy future.
Those were some of the findings in a new report from the Institute of Public Policy at the University of Missouri-Columbia.
Brian Dabson co-authored the report and hopes it will kick start a discussion about what policy makers can do spur green energy production in Missouri.
“What we’re hoping to do with this report is to encourage, along with many others, the idea that renewable energy would be a way to enhance economic performance here in Missouri and create more jobs and investment in the state,” Dabson said.
Dabson said that there are opportunities for wind, biomass and hydroelectric energy production in Missouri, but added there needs to be a long-term commitment on the part of state legislators to create the kind of stable investment environment it will take to attract investment in renewable energy sources.
Even though more than 80 percent of Missouri’s energy production today comes from coal, it’s role will likely diminish over time, in part because the cost of natural gas is expected to remain low, according to the report.
The report recommends policy makers explore cost recovery options for utility companies to help diversify Missouri’s energy production.
In 2008, Missouri voters approved a ballot measure with the goal of ramping up the state’s renewable energy usage to 15 percent by 2021.