Clean energy group: Missouri companies are not being transparent

2 years 3 weeks 3 days ago Monday, July 25 2016 Jul 25, 2016 Monday, July 25, 2016 2:42:00 PM CDT July 25, 2016 in News
By: Austin Hough, KOMU 8 Reporter
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COLUMBIA - Big energy companies like Ameren and Empire may not be totally complying when it comes to renewable energy calculations, according to a clean energy advocacy group. 

Renew Missouri said Ameren has not been transparent in its calculations on how it reaches its 5 percent clean energy usage, leaving the numbers untrustworthy.

"That calculation has not been transparent enough for anyone to evaulate and analyze and see whether or not it's corresponding to real life," Mark Walter, the deputy director of Renew Missouri, said.

Additionally, Ameren has been getting approximately 70 percent of its five percent renewable energy source from a water dam in Keokuk, Iowa. The dam, however, is too big to be considered usable for renewable energy under Proposition C, or the Missouri Clean Energy Act, passed in 2008.

Ameren, however, said the dam fits under the law Renew Missouri wrote in 2008.

"Proposition C was written by Renew Missouri, and when they wrote that, they refered to a singular generator nameplate," Ameren's Vice President of External Affairs and Communication Warren Wood said. "And, when you go to Keokuk, or when you go to the project that Empire operates, each of those generators has a nameplate on it. So they drafted the statute to say exactly what it says, and the Keokuk facility clearly complies with that requirement."

Missouri is ranked 44th in energy efficiency, according to the American Council for an Energy-Efficent Economy. Walter said this is not good for the state.

"It leaves us behind. Tens of millions of dollars of investment are being made in clean energy in states right surrounding us," Walter said. "And that's jobs. Real, economic impact, especially to rural communities where a lot of these wind farms are going to be built." 

Missouri Sun Solar's Communication Relations Correspondent said the way to imrpove those numbers is through learning about clean energy.

"We just have to keep that education going. We just have to put ourselves out there, not just oursleves as a company, but as clean energy solutions and options in general."

Wood said Ameren has used proposition C to expand its already big emission-free facilities.

"We're excited about the interest in moving toward cleaner energy," Wood said. "We've had a number of large. emission free energy resources operating for decades now. And now we're expanding into new areas that our customers have expressed a lot of interest in."

Walter said if Ameren and Empire put more energy toward using clean energy, it would help a lot.

"If these companies were to make a good faith effort, it would get us a long way," Walter said. "We'd be up to 15 percent renewable energy by 2021, so that's a big step. And we're working to make sure that gets done on time."

According to Proposition C, companies like Ameren and Empire must have 15 percent of their annual sales coming from eligible renewable energy sources by 2021.

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