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Appeals Court Upholds Mo. Renewable Energy Rules

Missouri Solar Energy Industry Association

A state appeals court has upheld regulations implementing Missouri’s renewable energy standard.

Kevin Gunn chairs the Missouri Public Service Commission, the state regulatory agency that developed the regulations (4 CSR 240-20.100).

Gunn says the standard approved by voters in 2008 was intended to increase Missouri’s reliance on renewable energy — while at the same time limiting rate-increases to electricity consumers.

“And in trying to balance those two, without a lot of direction from the legislature, or without a lot of direction from the statute, we kind of had to come up with this calculation that we thought complied with both the letter and the spirit of the law,” Gunn said.

Gunn calls the renewable energy regulations “extremely complicated.” And he says even though they survived their latest legal challenge, he expects it won’t be the last.

“I suspect that the groups that lost today will ask for transfer to the Missouri Supreme Court, and ultimately that’s where I think it’s going to end up,” Gunn said.

A spokesperson for one of the legal challengers, the utility company Ameren, declined to comment, saying the company had not yet had time to review the court’s decision.

Other challengers include the utility trade group the Missouri Energy Development Association, the lobbying organization the Missouri Industrial Energy Consumers, and the Empire District Electric Company, which is based in Joplin.

Follow Véronique LaCapra on Twitter: @KWMUScience