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After a recent candidate forum for Missouri House District 60, the News Tribune asked the candidates a follow-up question posed by a reader.

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Seeking the District 60 seat are Dave Griffith, a Republican, and Sara Michael, a Democrat.

They are running for the seat held by state Rep. Jay Barnes, R-Jefferson City, who is completing his fourth term. The district consists of most of Jefferson City, with the exception of the southeast section.

Reader Jan Schumacher asked: What is your position on providing greater support for energy efficiency by mandating that all utilities have energy-efficiency programs for their industrial, commercial and residential customers? What is your position on the state offering rebates for installation of solar?

Griffith: "I'm not familiar with other utility providers around the state; but here, our local utility provider, Ameren (Missouri), provides support for energy-efficiency programs for customers. It is a program that we can take advantage of when purchasing everything from new thermostats to appliances and heating and air systems. Solar energy is a great energy alternative, and the technologies surrounding solar seem to always be improving. However, before the state can look at any new rebate programs, we must first be sure we have met our other obligations and are funding our other priorities in education, infrastructure and elsewhere."

Michael: "I support efforts to increase energy efficiency. Net metering is a good start and a good option for smaller structures. But we need to develop technology to store this excess power, which doesn't fully meet the needs of larger businesses. Government should be engaged in finding solutions that balance the costs, need for immediately accessible power, and the environment.

"Many rebates disappear if systems aren't operational by June 2020. This legislative compromise should be reviewed to allow people to take advantage of rebates. I support rebates and finding a balance between reasonably priced energy and more reliance on renewable resources."

More information on renewable energy

For more information on renewable energy sources available to Missourians, visit the Missouri Department of Economic Development's Division of Energy webpage, which provides links to resources concerning solar energy. More information, including a database for renewable energy incentives, is available at energy.mo.gov/solar/missouri-solar-energy-resource.

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