Missourians voted overwhelmingly in 2008 to create the state’s RES by passing Proposition C. Investor-owned utilities have since been required to increase renewable energy generation incrementally so that their energy mix will include 15 percent renewables by 2021. However, the state, which houses the headquarters of the largest private sector coal corporation in the world (Peabody Energy), has seen RES repeal bills introduced annually, and 2015 was no different.
HB 783, introduced by American Legislative Exchange Council member Representative Bart Korman, would repeal the RES by allowing all Missouri hydro generation facilities, that are owned by a Missouri utility or under a power purchase agreement with a Missouri utility, to be classified as an eligible technology under the law.
This is not the first time Rep. Korman tried to water-down the RES. In 2013, he sponsored HB 44 that would have done the same thing and it passed the House. In 2014, he sponsored HB 2235 with the same language. However, both last year’s and this year’s bills failed to get out of committees.
Ameren Corporation, the state’s largest electric utility company, is the second largest contributor to Rep. Korman’s election campaigns.
Missouri Net Metering Attacked
Missouri Representative T.J. Berry introduced a bill, HB 481, calling for a comprehensive study of solar’s costs and benefits by the state Public Utilities Commission. But a study conducted by the Missouri Energy Initiative already shows that net metering provides a benefit to all ratepayers because of reduced emissions and energy costs. The bill did not pass, but Berry said the intent of introducing the bill was to create sustained debate. Missouri’s rural electric cooperatives, along with Ameren and Kansas City Power & Light, have begun to indicate they want monthly fixed fee added to homeowners with rooftop solar.r
Developments transpired in the courts as well. Empire District Electric Company has insisted that they were legally exempt from offering solar rebates to customers. However, a 5-2 decision in February by the Missouri Supreme Court ruled against Empire.