What's at stake?
Demand for electricity in Missouri is expected to increase by about 25 percent over the next 20 years. While coal-fired power plants generate much of Missouri’s electricity – about 70 percent – these plants will either need costly upgrades or shut down completely as federal environmental regulations tighten. To compete economically on a global scale, Missouri’s regulatory environment must encourage new development and infrastructure investment.
Today’s regulatory environment makes it difficult to invest in the infrastructure we need to secure our energy future. To best position Missouri for added jobs, economic investment and new energy opportunities, we must update our state’s regulatory structure and encourage these infrastructure investments.
By focusing on securing our energy future, we can boost the economy and create jobs.
Keys to a better future
Today’s over 100 year old regulatory structure discourages investments in our aging infrastructure, which ultimately could harm the reliability of the energy we need to power our homes and businesses. It also impedes increased use of newer energy technologies. What’s worse these outdated laws add to costs for consumers by drawing out the process that determines utility rates while favoring special interests, lawyers and lobbyists.
Other states around the nation have already acted to update their regulatory structure, and the benefits are apparent. Not only are jobs increasing as construction starts on projects to update infrastructure, but companies who are looking for locations to place their businesses are taking advantage of friendlier regulatory environments. Missouri must do all we can to create the conditions that allow businesses to thrive and create jobs in our state.
There is no debate that nuclear power plants provide clean and reliable energy. These plants also provide jobs and boost the economies in their local communities. For example, Ameren’s nuclear plant in Callaway County, Mo., which has been operating safely and efficiently since 1984, provides electricity for about 780,000 households. It also employs more than 1,000 workers and generates $9 million in annual tax revenue to the county.
MBEF continues to support Missouri’s partnership for U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) funding for Small Modular Reactors (SMRs). This investment could be the first step in establishing Missouri as the global manufacturing hub for this new technology. What could this mean for Missourians? $37 billion a year, to be exact.
DOE announced an initial round of funding in the fall of 2012. A new round of funding will be announced soon and MBEF will continue efforts to make Missouri the clear choice.
MBEF continues to support and encourage legislative initiatives that might bring more affordable and clean power sources to our state.
Clean energy projects, whether they are from wind or solar, nuclear energy or other sources, are crucial to the future energy and economic stability of our state. A clean energy standard typically requires a state to supply a specific percentage of its electricity from qualifying clean energy resources. Such a standard can bolster the economy, generate new jobs and reduce emissions.
We support a broad – but aggressive – energy standard as long as it does not burden Missouri’s residents, municipalities and businesses, which enjoy some of the lowest utility rates in the nation. Any potential rate increase should be fairly distributed across the rate base and not favor one group over another.
State regulators must also determine whether the compliance costs related to a clean energy standard are in the best interest of Missouri ratepayers. Any compliance process should be fair and efficient and encourage investment and development of energy projects in the state.
Reaping the benefits
Missouri consumers already pay some of the lowest energy rates in the nation. Given the need to replace our aging power plants, it’s vital that Missouri keep all energy options on the table since that may be the state’s best strategy for keeping future costs low.