Energy | St. Louis Public Radio


Josh Graciano | Flickr

A Missouri appeals court has ordered the natural gas company Spire to pay customers at least $4 million in reimbursements after it improperly charged them for pipe repairs.

In a trio of decisions, judges from the Missouri Western District Court of Appeals ruled the utility improperly used surcharges to fund infrastructure improvements that were not eligible for those fees.

Ameren Missouri plans to invest $5 billion to improve the statewide electrical grid.
Ameren Missouri

For Caya Aufiero, a power outage is more than an inconvenience.

When one occurs, business at Urban Eats — a restaurant she co-owns in Dutchtown — can come to a standstill.

“You have to close your doors and write your business off for the day,” said Aufiero. “It’s painful, very painful.”

Across St. Louis, such outages are becoming increasingly common as underground wiring installed nearly a century ago deteriorates. Ameren Missouri is spending billions of dollars to upgrade the state’s electrical grid, fixes that will include repairing lines.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Oct. 6, 2010 - In the next 25 years, the demand for energy across the planet is projected to rise about 1.5 times. The present course predicts that fossil fuels will still be supplying more than 80 percent of the energy used in 2030, while renewable and other energy sources will increase -- but not nearly enough to power the world.

Presidents of 26 universities from around the world gave their perspectives on energy and the environment at the McDonnell International Scholars Academy Symposium: "Global Energy Future" held at Washington University from Oct. 1-5.

An illustration of pollution, 2017
Rici Hoffarth | St. Louis Public Radio

A report released Monday finds that two power plants in Arkansas are partly responsible for poor air quality in St. Louis. 

Scientists from California-based Sonoma Technologies Inc. analyzed nitrogen oxide emissions, a component of ozone pollution, detected by air monitors in the St. Louis region in 2011. Their measurements revealed that Entergy's Independence and White Bluffs plants, located about 210 and 300 miles southwest of St. Louis, contributed emissions well above the federal standard for several days that year. The Sierra Club commissioned the study.

St. Louis residents, activists and city officials gathered on Sept. 8, 2016, at the Gateway Arch riverfront to express opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline.
Eli Chen

A federal judge on Friday denied the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s request to halt construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. But the U.S. Departments of Justice, the Army and the Interior temporarily halted construction of the project.


The Army will not authorize pipeline construction on Corps of Engineers land bordering or under Lake Oahe in South Dakota until it can determine if it needs to reconsider past decisions. The three departments also asked the pipeline company to stop construction on other lands.


Meanwhile, some St. Louis officials and activists are banding together to show solidarity with the tribe.


The $3.8 billion Dakota Access Pipeline is set to be built on a 1,172 mile diagonal from the Bakken/Three Forks formations in North Dakota down to Patoka, Ill., about 75 miles east ofSt. Louis. The pipeline would cross under the Missouri River in two locations. That has people in St. Louis concerned about local water quality.

Jerry Steiner, CEO of Arvegenix, and Toni Kutchan, Vice President for Research at Donald Danforth Plant Science Center discussed new research in the field of bioenergy on St. Louis on the Air.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

While the typical American may be considering how to use alternative fuel in the form of an electric car or investing in a “smart home” system, big industry is also looking for ways to reduce CO2 emissions through the use of alternative biofuels.

Ameren Missouri

Missouri's Department of Economic Development has unveiled 17 recommendations for how Missouri should use and conserve energy.

The recommendations are the end result of an executive order Gov. Jay Nixon issued last year that was intended to "chart a road map toward a more prosperous, secure and sustainable energy future."

(via Flickr)

The controversy over coal use hits close to home.

It’s not only that coal-burning companies Ameren Missouri, Peabody Energy, and Arch Coal are headquartered in St. Louis, or that statewide battles have been waged over coal burning and the storing of ash.

Apartments in the Renaissance Place neighborhood in North St. Louis, which includes subsidized and market-rate housing.
Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

There’s no shortage of incentive programs to install energy-efficient appliances and fixtures in Missouri, but a new report shows that affordable, multi-family housing units are often left out of the mix.

According to the paper from the National Resources Defense Council, only 30 percent of households in those buildings within Ameren Missouri and Ameren Illinois' service areas are participating in energy efficiency programs. Energy costs can disproportionately impact low-income families, who spend nearly 14 percent of their annual income on utilities, according to the Missouri Department of Energy.

Ameren's Callaway nuclear power plant license extended

Mar 9, 2015
Ameren's Callaway reactor is the only commercial nuclear power plant in Missouri.
Missouri Coalition for the Environment

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has renewed the operating license for Ameren's Callaway nuclear power plant through 2044.

But ongoing litigation could quash that renewal.

Last Chance To Weigh In On Missouri's State Energy Plan

Jan 30, 2015
State of Rhode Island Division of Planning

Time is running out to provide input on Missouri’s state energy plan.

The public comment period officially ends on Saturday, although the online form will likely remain available at least through the weekend.

Lewis Mills directs the state Division of Energy, which is developing the plan. He said so far, public comments have centered on a handful of themes.

In Dec. 2008, a dike collapsed at TVA's coal-fired power plant near Kingston, Tenn., releasing 1.1 billion gallons of coal ash into the Emory and Clinch rivers and covering about 300 acres of land.
Tennessee Valley Authority

A local environmental group is asking state regulators to deny Ameren’s request to build a new coal ash landfill next to its Labadie power plant in Franklin County, on the basis that the landfill would not comply with new federal regulations.

In Dec. 2008, the failure of a dike at TVA's coal-fired power plant near Kingston, Tenn., released 1.1 billion gallons of coal ash into the Emory and Clinch rivers and buried about 300 acres of land.
Tennessee Valley Authority

For the first time, the byproducts of coal-fired power plants will now be subject to federal regulation.

In a state like Missouri, which generates more than 80 percent of its electricity from coal, the new standards could have significant repercussions.

gas prices, Missouri's gas prices
Maria Altman | St. Louis Public Radio

It’s sticker shock turned upside down.

Filling up your gas tank is almost pleasant as prices at the pump continue to fall. In St. Louis on Monday, a gallon of gas averaged $2.22, but it could be found for as low as $2.07.

While the entire country is seeing lower gas prices, Missouri has averaged the lowest. The American Automobile Association listed the state’s average as $2.25 a gallon on Monday. Meanwhile the average in Illinois was $2.57; in California it was $2.87 and a whopping $2.98 in New York.

Jo Mannies/St. Louis Public Radio and the Beacon

When it comes to energy, U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt says that the federal government has taken the wrong approach for years.

“The refusal to acknowledge that we’re the Saudi Arabia of coal is a big mistake for us,” Blunt, R-Mo., told St. Charles County officials and business people gathered Thursday night at the St. Charles Chamber of Commerce.

Instead, he said, “There’s a clear war on coal.”

Enbridge Energy Company, Inc.

Updated at 5:00 p.m.

A St. Louis-based environmental group has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for failing to provide information about a multi-state oil pipeline project.

The Missouri Coalition for the Environment says the Corps unlawfully withheld documents requested under the Freedom of Information Act.

Chris McDaniel, St. Louis Public Radio.

About 50 activists delivered a petition to the St. Louis Board of Elections on Wednesday, calling for the city to cut tax breaks from businesses involved in what they call “unsustainable energy production.”

The group marched with signs that said “Take Back St. Louis" and chanted things like "We will stand, we will fight, a greener city is our right!"

The petition was organized by Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment (MORE), and the group’s leaders say they have more than 36,000 signatures, which is well above the requirement for a ballot initiative.

Commentary: Walking toward the New Good Old Days

Jan 14, 2013

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Jan. 14, 2013 - People rarely look at the cost of energy inputs when thinking about the economy. This is a major intellectual failing, since your goods don't move from place to place in the incredibly complex global dance without energy inputs - especially GASOLINE, that energy-dense, portable, stable stuff that we seem to really love for the cars and trucks we all find so handy.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Nov. 1, 2012 - WASHINGTON -- The devastation caused by Superstorm Sandy has churned up a last-minute political debate on a topic -- global climate change -- that had been mostly ignored during more than a year of campaigning that has focused attention on energy resource issues, such as oil and coal, rather than their impact on global warming.

Southern Ill. power plant Energy Electric Inc. to cut 44 jobs

Jun 15, 2012
(via Flickr/[F]oxymoron)

A coal-fired power plant in southern Illinois will shed nearly four dozen jobs in the next two months.

Energy Electric Inc. President Bill Sheppard says 19 of the 44 job cuts will be management personnel with the Joppa-based company. Twenty-five union workers in the company with about 233 employees will be laid off Aug. 11.

Sheppard says the reductions are fallout from the struggling economy and wholesale supplier prices that had fallen by 60 percent in 2008 and an additional 15 percent last year. He says drop-offs in the price of natural gas also are a factor.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Sept. 17, 2010 - Gov. Jay Nixon emphasized the need to balance economic and environmental interests on Friday, as he laid out a plan for the state's energy future.

Nixon told a room of industrial consumers and energy executives at Washington University that the balancing act would need to include increases in environmentally friendly practices and clean, renewable energy sources while keeping energy costs affordable for consumers and businesses.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, May 19, 2010 -  Hours before the results of Tuesday's congressional upsets around the country, U.S. Rep. Roy Blunt -- Missouri's best-known Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate -- was sounding some of the same GOP themes in his downtown address to the Regional Chamber and Growth Association. 

Overall, said Blunt, what his audience needed to know was that he and the likely Democratic nominee -- Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan -- "don't agree on anything" as they battle over who will succeed retiring Sen. Christopher "Kit" Bond, R-Mo.

Can pond scum save us from fossil fuels?

Mar 26, 2010

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 26, 2010 - "How do you milk algae for their oil? Tiny milkmaids with very tiny tweezers."

Richard Sayre, head of the Enterprise Biofuels Institute at the Danforth Plant Science Center, has a whole comedy shtick to ease the listener into the serious topic of algae's oil eventually becoming a major source of transportation and other fuels. His laboratory has devised a system to extract the oil (up to 50 percent of their weight) from algae without damaging them, so that the same organism can replenish its oil droplets again and again.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Feb. 19, 2010 - U.S. Rep. Roy Blunt -- Missouri's best-known Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate, is capping a busy week by launching today a " 19-city 'Jobs for Missouri's Future' bus tour" in which he plans to " visit with workers and small business owners to discuss solutions to help create jobs for Missourians right now."

The tour begins this morning in Sedalia (home of the Missouri State Fair). Blunt, R-Springfield, provided no specifics of the individual stops during Thursday night's surprise announcement of the trip, other than to list the cities on his tour. They include St. Louis.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Dec. 18, 2009 - Next week, the national League of Conservation Voters plans to end its long-running statewide ad campaign that has sharply criticized U.S. Rep. Roy Blunt, R-Springfield and a candidate for the U.S. Senate.

The League says it has spent more than $500,000 this year to attack Blunt's record on energy issues. Its latest ad blitz began a month ago in southwest Missouri, and then expanded to the St. Louis area and other parts of the state.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, May 27, 2009 - U.S. Rep. Roy Blunt, R-Strafford and a candidate for the U.S. Senate, is complaining about a new TV attack ad produced by several national groups upset over his energy-related votes.

The ad began running Tuesday in Blunt's southwest Missouri congressional district. The groups who produced and paid for the campaigns are, the League of Conservation Voters and America’s Building Trades Unions.

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, Jan. 18, 2009 - Oddly enough, those “in charge” in the world have a chronic inability to consider the true cost of things, whether they be commodities or activities or programs. Among the negative and largely unnecessary consequences are that humans currently face debilitating shortages of essential commodities, financial and environmental problems, and abundant world strife.

Commentary: Jimmy Carter was right

Nov 19, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: November 19, 2008 - In his 1979 "malaise" speech, Jimmy Carter spoke to a nation facing multiple economic challenges and a debilitating energy crisis. But his focus on problems "more serious than energy or inflation" transcended immediate events.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: October 16, 2008 - If you're searching for a bright spot amid the recent series of economic shocks -- nest eggs cracked, jobs lost, budgets busted, energy costs at painful levels -- proponents of Proposition C on the Nov. 4 ballot think they have an answer.