Prop 1 raises mixed reactions over impact on renewable energy

2 years 8 months 2 weeks ago Saturday, March 28 2015 Mar 28, 2015 Saturday, March 28, 2015 3:17:00 PM CDT March 28, 2015 in News
By: Tatiana Darie, KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

COLUMBIA - With just a couple of days left until the April election, some Columbia residents raised concerns about the proposed electric bond.

Voters will decided April 7 if Columbia Water and Light should issue $63.1 million in bonds to fund city utility projects. Proposition 1 would increase utility bills 6 percent over five years. Without the bonds, the city would need to suddenly raise rates three or four times higher, between 20 percent to 25 percent with some reductions possible in five years.

Proposition 2 wants to increase stormwater utility fees by about 45 cents per month, on average, over five years to pay for improvements to the system, which is aging in many parts of the city.

If passed, the bonds will allow the city to replace and upgrade the existing infrastructure, modernize and expand the Waterworks and Electric Systems, including more residential and commercial expansion, adding new electric connections and street lights. 

Tom O'Connor, who is a member of the Columbia Water and Light Advisory Board, said he thinks the bond proposal will pass, but he is concerned more grid lines are an outdated investment in Columbia's energy future.

"There are kind of two sides to the equation, two ways to handle your energy needs: one is to bring it from afar, like transmission lines, big power lines and the other is to produce it locally," said O'Connor, who is also owner H2O'C  environmental engineering, specializing in sustainable water and energy solutions. "I kind of feel like we haven't looked at all the options to produce it locally and more of the smart grid, grid of the future options and I am slightly disheartened that we've gone straight to the transmission line options."

Alternatively, O'Connor said the city should use the money to adopt more bold steps toward a sustainable local energy future. Some Non-Transmission Alternatives include combined heat and power systems, demand side management, smart grid technologies, incentivized efficiency and conservation, energy storage and more forms of renewable energy.

Columbia Water and Light said the capital improvement program is need to comply with federal and state mandates, replace the existing system and respond to expected usage growth.

According to a document obtained by Tom O'Conner from Jim Windsor of Water and Light, energy consumption numbers have been rather flat for the last two decades. In 2000, Columbia consumed around a million megawatt-hours (MWh). By 2014, city-wide consumption raised to slightly above 1,196,000 megawatt-hours. In the meantime, Columbia has seen more renewable energy consumption for the past seven years. From around 3,700 MWhs consumed in 2007, renewable energy use grew 230 percent to more than 86,000 MWhs.

Columbia Water and Light assistant director Ryan Williams said the number of customer-owner solar system installations in Columbia has grown during the same time period. From just two solar systems installed in 2007, the number rose to 18 systems in 2014. 

While this is big step forward toward renewable energy, Steve Scott, who has 34 solar panels on his home, said it's not enough to sustain the energy use in the city.

"I don't see the grid going away anytime soon," said Scott."As a practical matter people who have solar power still need the grid for times of day when they are not generating electricity."

Scott said he does not think the electric bond will have an impact on solar. 

"I think solar energy right now in Columbia is a matter of individual decisions that people make based on their own circumstances, based on their ability to pay for it themselves, their interest in the subject, their location."

Ryan Williams of Water and Light said while there are no solar projects identified with Proposition 1, the electric bond would not hamper the development of solar. The department offers a one-time $500 per kilowatt rebate for qualifying solar energy systems.

More News

Grid
List
COLUMBIA (AP) — Police say they have arrested a man charged in an August quadruple homicide that occurred in... More >>
9 hours ago Saturday, December 16 2017 Dec 16, 2017 Saturday, December 16, 2017 11:15:00 PM CST December 16, 2017 in News
NEW BLOOMFIELD - A two-vehicle car wreck Saturday left one dead and two others injured, according to the Missouri State... More >>
12 hours ago Saturday, December 16 2017 Dec 16, 2017 Saturday, December 16, 2017 8:15:00 PM CST December 16, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - An event in Columbia today addressed the prevalence of gun violence and misuse of firearms by offering gift... More >>
12 hours ago Saturday, December 16 2017 Dec 16, 2017 Saturday, December 16, 2017 8:04:00 PM CST December 16, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA – A six-year-old held a hot chocolate stand Saturday outside of a Hy-Vee in Jefferson City to help two... More >>
13 hours ago Saturday, December 16 2017 Dec 16, 2017 Saturday, December 16, 2017 6:51:00 PM CST December 16, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - The Wyss Medical Foundation donated $2 million to the Missouri Orthapaedic Institute for the work of lead orthopaedic... More >>
15 hours ago Saturday, December 16 2017 Dec 16, 2017 Saturday, December 16, 2017 5:05:00 PM CST December 16, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - On Friday, the Columbia Police Department inducted eight new recruits, the largest class of officers in years. ... More >>
16 hours ago Saturday, December 16 2017 Dec 16, 2017 Saturday, December 16, 2017 4:03:00 PM CST December 16, 2017 in News
JACKSONVILLE - An estimated 400 people attended a wreath laying ceremony Saturday at the Jacksonville State Veterans Cemetery. It... More >>
16 hours ago Saturday, December 16 2017 Dec 16, 2017 Saturday, December 16, 2017 3:31:00 PM CST December 16, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA – Graduation day is long awaited by many and Amy Kiso Bledsoe is no exception. Bledsoe was... More >>
17 hours ago Saturday, December 16 2017 Dec 16, 2017 Saturday, December 16, 2017 2:47:00 PM CST December 16, 2017 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — As Missouri struggles with the epidemic of opioid abuse, no place in the state has been... More >>
19 hours ago Saturday, December 16 2017 Dec 16, 2017 Saturday, December 16, 2017 1:10:14 PM CST December 16, 2017 in News
BOONE COUNTY - A furnace malfunction caused a fire in a trailer home on Pratherville Road Saturday morning. Gale... More >>
20 hours ago Saturday, December 16 2017 Dec 16, 2017 Saturday, December 16, 2017 12:05:48 PM CST December 16, 2017 in News
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — People returning to Kansas City after being released from prison will get a 90-day supply... More >>
20 hours ago Saturday, December 16 2017 Dec 16, 2017 Saturday, December 16, 2017 11:25:12 AM CST December 16, 2017 in News
BOONE COUNTY - Firefighters responded to a shed fire off of Highway 40 near Rocheport Saturday morning. Boone County... More >>
22 hours ago Saturday, December 16 2017 Dec 16, 2017 Saturday, December 16, 2017 10:04:00 AM CST December 16, 2017 in News
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Officials with the University of Missouri-Kansas City say students will soon have access to state-of-the-art... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, December 16 2017 Dec 16, 2017 Saturday, December 16, 2017 8:16:45 AM CST December 16, 2017 in Continuous News
COLUMBIA - Cat cafes have popped up across the world in cities including New York City, London and Tokyo, and... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, December 16 2017 Dec 16, 2017 Saturday, December 16, 2017 7:36:00 AM CST December 16, 2017 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Some Jefferson City kids are getting the chance at a Merry Christmas this year with the help... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, December 16 2017 Dec 16, 2017 Saturday, December 16, 2017 12:00:00 AM CST December 16, 2017 in Top Stories
COLUMBIA - The Missouri State Highway Patrol has confirmed it has fired Trooper Anthony Piercy. KOMU 8 spoke to... More >>
1 day ago Friday, December 15 2017 Dec 15, 2017 Friday, December 15, 2017 8:42:00 PM CST December 15, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - St. Louis officers arrested a suspect that was on the run in a duplex on Sears Court in... More >>
1 day ago Friday, December 15 2017 Dec 15, 2017 Friday, December 15, 2017 8:29:00 PM CST December 15, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - The application for the top education position in the state, Missouri State Education Board Commissioner, opened Friday leaving... More >>
1 day ago Friday, December 15 2017 Dec 15, 2017 Friday, December 15, 2017 8:02:00 PM CST December 15, 2017 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 42°
9am 44°
10am 46°
11am 46°
12pm 47°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

8:00a
Sunday TODAY with Willie Geist
9:00a
Meet the Press
10:00a
Give
7:30a
In Touch with Dr. Charles Stanley
8:30a
The Key of David
9:00a
Campmeeting

Tonight's Schedule

6:00p
Football Night in America
7:20p
Sunday Night Football
7:00p
The Christmas Bunny
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Family Guy