Renewable energy measure approved

The Missouri House voted Thursday to allow additional hydroelectric power to be used toward meeting the state’s renewable energy requirement — an effort criticized by sponsors of the original initiative approved by voters.

A 2008 voter-backed law requires Missouri investor-owned utilities to use renewable energy sources for increasing amounts of energy production. That requirement is 5 percent next year, 10 percent in 2018, and 15 percent in 2021. It also restricted what hydroelectric power can be applied.

The House legislation would allow hydroelectric power from plants in Missouri, facilities owned by Missouri power companies and those shared under a purchased power agreement to be used starting in 2018. Beginning in 2021, all hydroelectric power could be classified as a renewable energy resource.

Advocates supporting the 2008 law said the legislation would cover existing hydroelectric plants and allow utilities to purchase “renewable energy credits” from anywhere in the world. They say utilities would not need to change how power is generated, and that the possible job creation and economic development boost from the 2008 law would be negated.

Supporters of the House legislation said hydroelectric should count as a renewable energy source. It passed 95-46 and goes to the Senate.

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