Clean energy | St. Louis Public Radio

Clean energy

Solar panels are one upgrade business can make with PACE financing. The Fairview Heights City Council will consider tonight whether to allow the financing program in its city.
File photo| Maria Altman | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 10:20 p.m. Aug. 20 to include the City Council's decision to delay its vote

Businesses in Fairview Heights may soon find private investors to help them make their buildings more energy efficient.

The Fairview Heights City Council is considering a proposal to establish a Property Assessed Clean Energy financing program in the city. The council had scheduled a vote for Tuesday, but delayed it until its Sept. 3 meeting to give the public an opportunity to see recent changes state legislators made to the law.

The PACE program gives commercial property owners access to long-term loans for efficiency upgrades. It would help new and existing businesses invest in their properties, said Paul Ellis, the city’s director of economic development.

Solar panels are one upgrade business can make with PACE financing. The Fairview Heights City Council will consider tonight whether to allow the financing program in its city.
File photo| Maria Altman | St. Louis Public Radio

Clean-energy companies in Missouri are finding it difficult to hire qualified workers, even as the number of residents in the state working in energy efficiency, electric transportation and renewable energy grows.

A report released this week by business group Environmental Entrepreneurs and environmental think tank Clean Energy Trust said the low unemployment rate could be one factor, as a shortage of job seekers is affecting many industries. It also pointed to federal policies, such as the Trump administration’s decision to impose a tariff on imported solar panels, as another potential challenge that’s suppressing growth among clean energy companies.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Oct. 21, 2009 - Last month, Sens. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., and John Kerry, D-Mass., introduced the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act. Their bill represents a significant upgrade from the bill passed by the House in June ("The American Clean Energy and Security Act"). According to ThinkProgress, a liberal think tank, the Senate bill is designed to "stave off catastrophic global warming by investing in clean energy." Such an ambitious undertaking will have important economic ramifications that deserve close scrutiny.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Sept. 22, 2009 - On Nov. 5, 2008, the task of keeping young people engaged in national affairs became more challenging. On the heels of a historic election, many wondered whether interest in some of the prominent causes backed by advocacy groups would naturally wane.

Working toward cleaner coal: Part 1

Jul 29, 2009

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, July 29, 2009 - If you are reading this story on a computer, you are probably using electricity from coal.

Our modern lifestyle depends upon an uninterrupted and inexpensive supply of electrical energy. Coal-powered electric plants operate around the clock to fill the demand for energy.

Working toward cleaner coal: Part 2

Jul 29, 2009

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, July 29, 2009 - In the push for cleaner air, public attention has now turned to the main product of burning organic matter, the "greenhouse gas" carbon dioxide. The United States emits more than 6 billion tons of carbon dioxide annually, one-third each from coal and natural gas and one-third from transportation and petroleum. Scientists and policy makers generally agree that this greenhouse carbon dioxide is causing the average temperature of the Earth to rise. The question is just how to reduce drastically the amounts of carbon dioxide added to the atmosphere.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, June 18, 2009 - When it comes to "green jobs,'' Missouri ranks in the middle.

So says a new study by the Pew Charitable Trusts, which looked at all 50 states to see how they stack up regarding the clean-energy economy that environmentalists and others tout as the wave of the future.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 27, 2009 - U.S. Sen. Christopher "Kit" Bond, R-Mo., is unveiling today what he calls a "Yellow Light on Green Jobs" report that "highlights areas where environmental and labor advocates admit green jobs mean massive taxpayer subsidies, lower wages and killing existing jobs..."

Bond says the report is in reaction to President Barack Obama's "Earth Day economic promises and a slew of congressional hearings held by Democrats on the potential of new green jobs."

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 20, 2009 - The national League of Conservation voters launched Monday in Missouri the first attack ad of the 2010 U.S. Senate contest, by taking on the announced Republican candidate, U.S. Rep. Roy Blunt, R-Strafford.

But a League spokesman said the ad buy -- which so far is close to $100,000 (hefty for Missouri) -- is aimed at Blunt's current job, not his hoped-for-future one.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 20, 2009 - If the words efficiency, economy, sustainability and diversity could produce electricity, the discussion at Monday's Regional Energy Summit at Southwestern Illinois College could have powered the whole region.

The audience heard from local executives in industries ranging from coal to corn, oil to electricity, along with Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, Rep. Jerry Costello, D-Belleville, and -- on video, because he had to join President Barack Obama's first full cabinet meeting -- Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, a former congressman from Illinois.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 23, 2009 - To understand the fight over the future of coal on the U.S. energy menu, you have to pay attention to the words used by those who support burning more coal as a relatively inexpensive, abundant energy source in the United States.

You also must pay close heed to opponents who believe a commitment to "clean coal technology" -- a term that they mock as self-contradictory -- is taking this country down the wrong path.