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Your Opinion: Renewable energy initiative favored

Your Opinion: Renewable energy initiative favored

February 26th, 2012 by Vaughn X. Prost, CEO, Missouri Solar Applications, LLC in News

Dear Editor:

As a small business owner in renewable energy, I testified last week at a Senate hearing against a bill that would destroy jobs and hurt our industry. SB759 is an attempt by Ameren, KCP&L, and a handful of Missouri senators to create a weaker, less meaningful Renewable Energy Standard (RES) than was passed by Missouri voters in 2008. SB759 would cause Missouri rate payer dollars to be sent outside the state to buy renewable energy credits, sending the jobs and economic benefit with them.

During the SB759 hearing, Sen. Kehoe attacked the new ballot initiative, approved for signature collection by the secretary of state, likely to appear on the November 2012 ballot. In Sen. Kehoe's Capital Report, Feb. 17 stating that the November 2012 initiative petition is "... expensive, job killing, anti-business ..."

Nothing could be further from the truth. The new initiative petition, if approved by the voters in November, will grow the renewable energy industry in Missouri which creates more jobs and economic development for Missourians. Customer rates would be capped at a rate increase of no more than $3 per month for residential consumers.

In the last four years Ameren has increased electric rates 36 percent and this month has asked for another 14.6 percent. Ameren has stated that most of the increased costs have been a direct result of buying, shipping, and burning Wyoming coal. These Ameren rate increases have not created one new Missouri job. These rate increases are truly expensive, job killing, anti-business and anti-residential customer. Missouri rate payer money is being sent outside the state to enrich coal mining companies, railroad companies, and the state of Wyoming which, by the way, runs a such a huge state budget surplus that no one in Wyoming pays state income tax; we're paying it for them.

We don't have time to mess around with this type of nonsense. We need to keep Missouri money in Missouri to create Missouri jobs. Shouldn't our Legislature be having hearings on how to reduce our state dependence on expensive coal and create clean renewable energy jobs in the state?

Legislators should not give "lip service" to job creation in Missouri and then by their actions send our renewable energy jobs to other states.