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State of electricity in Missouri examined

Callaway plant in Fulton (company photo)
Callaway plant in Fulton (company photo)

By Marshall Griffin, KWMU

Jefferson City, MO – The state of Missouri's electric industry was examined today in Jefferson City at a joint meeting between utilities and regulators.

The biggest worry for Missouri officials is federal climate legislation that could establish a cap-and-trade system for carbon emissions.

Robert Clayton III chairs the Missouri Public Service Commission.

"We need to be having a conversation now about what that impact will be...any change or restriction on carbon emissions is going to raise costs in the state of Missouri," Clayton said.

Clayton also says that 85 percent of Missouri's energy comes from coal, which is a prime source of carbon emissions.

John Anderson, President and CEO of the Washington, DC-based Electricity Consumers Resource Council, added that if a cap-and-trade system is adopted, it should be put in place in as efficient a manner as possible.

Another topic discussed: Keeping costs down while meeting rising demand for power.

Anderson describes Missouri's electricity future as very difficult and uncertain.

"You need to assure reliability, so you have to make sure that the supplies are there to meet the load that's going to be there...there is certainly a potential for more energy efficiency and renewables, but they must be cost effective if you're going to keep your manufacturing base, otherwise you're going to find that they're going to do far more harm than good," Anderson said.

Steve Kidwell, Vice President of Regulatory Affairs for St. Louis-based AmerenUE, says their plan to meet customer demand includes a mix of energy-efficient practices, renewable energy sources, and perhaps some type of new plant.

Early this year AmerenUE lobbied lawmakers for a measure that would have made it easier to build a second nuclear reactor at its Callaway County plant, however the bill died in the legislature.