Friday, July 18, 2008

Missouri Clean Energy Initiative on November Ballot

I want to take the time to inform Missouri voters of the Missouri Clean Energy Initiative that will be on the November ballot. Go to or for more info.

My only reservation about the initiative, and something that the web sites do not do a great job of clearing up, is the provision for the type of biomass to be used for energy. It appears that the preferred biomass included in the bill is cellulosic biomass, and to me, that is ok even though it does produce carbon dioxide when burned. What I am not ok with is the powerful lobby for corn-based ethanol leveraging its way into the bill, and thus portraying corn-based ethanol as renewable and clean energy. The free market and $7/bushel corn is currently taking the profitability out of corn-based ethanol, so perhaps my fears are unwarranted. If someone knows, the particulars of biomass in the current proposal, please "Show Me". The single issue of corn-based ethanol eligibility could ultimately determine my position on the bill.

Anyway, the following information is from the links above:

"Renew Missouri is a nonprofit corporation with the overarching goal of creating highly effective renewable energy policy in Missouri. Our current project is a proposal to bring renewable energy requirements to Missouri.

The Missouri Clean Energy Initiative, if passed, will require Missouri utilities to gradually increase their use of renewable energy over the next 12 years, ramping up to 15% of Missouri's electricity by the year 2020.

Why Switch to Renewable Energy?

* 86% of Missouri's electricity comes from coal-fired power plants, the #1 contributor to climate change and a threat to public health and air quality.
* Over $9 billion is exported each year to purchase coal from other states, while Missouri produced renewable energy would keep this money in-state.
* Missouri has good solar and wind potential (its wind capabilities rank 20th in the nation), yet it ranks close to last (45th in the nation) for usage of renewable energy.

The Facts of a Renewable Electricity Standard

* In the 24 states that have a similar renewable energy mandate, citizens have not seen a noticeable change in utility bills – renewable energy is reliable and dependably cheap.
* To ensure that electric bills do not go up, the Missouri initiative has a "stop-gap" provision included, which states that compliance can not make retail rates go up more than 1% ever.
* Renewable resources include electricity from wind turbines, solar panels, landfill gas and biomass (plant matter)."

I'm still idealistic enough to believe that this November election could really stir up some positive changes. I hope you'll join me in working toward a sustainable future.


Anonymous said...

I think that the corn folks are not going to be too big an issue since the pric e of corn is sky-rocketing(yeah). Biomass ethanol would reduce corn prices (Booo). In any event ethanol is not the answer to the nations fuel situation. It will only drive up food costs and make ethanol more expensive than gasoline.

Greg said...

Rick, Thanks for the comment. Corn based ethanol is obviously a boondoogle. We taxpayers pay 51 cents for every gallon of ethanol produced, plus it certainly does raise the cost of virtually everything.

BUT, cellulosic ethanol production is still something that you should keep your mind open to. Experimentation with Switch grass, algae, and other non-grain forms of biomas have shown some promise.

As a birder, I can gravitate to an idea that would restore some of America's tall grass prairies to their glory.