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Renewable energy backers mull ballot measure

Renewable energy backers mull ballot measure

July 28th, 2011 in News

Supporters of a renewable energy law that has faced stumbling blocks since being approved by Missouri voters in 2008 said Thursday they are examining whether to propose another initiative petition for next year's election.

P.J. Wilson, the director of Renew Missouri, said backers of the renewable energy law were completing a feasibility study for a possible new ballot measure. He said difficulties with getting the law implemented have limited the options for supporters of the renewable energy mandate.

"What other choice do we have?" he said. "The process is taking a lot longer than I wanted."

The renewable energy law was approved by 66 percent of voters in 2008 and passed in every county but Osage County - a rural county east of Jefferson City. Under the measure, investor-owned utilities must use renewable energy sources for at least 2 percent of their electricity by this year, 5 percent by 2014, 10 percent by 2018 and 15 percent by 2021. The voter-approved law also bars power companies from raising electric rates by more than 1 percent to comply with the requirement.

However, there have been challenges involving the voter-approved law and the administrative rules for implementing it that were developed by state utility regulators at the Public Service Commission. Among the issues has been whether electricity from renewable energy sources needs to be produced or sold in Missouri and the specifics of how to apply the 1 percent cap in rates.

Wilson said they are considering some possible changes to the energy measure, such as broadening what qualifies as renewable energy and setting additional targets for the use of renewable energy sources. He said a new ballot measure could make changes to the existing voter-approved law, toss out the 2008 law and start over or amend the state constitution.