Missouri adopts renewable portfolio standard

By Kris Bevill
Missouri's Election Day in November resulted in a narrow win for Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain and an overwhelming win for mandatory renewable energy requirements for state utilities. While McCain ultimately lost the election, renewable energy companies serve only to benefit from the state's new renewable portfolio standard (RPS).

More than 66 percent of Missourians voted "yes" on an initiative that will require the state's three largest electric utilities to generate or purchase at least 15 percent of their energy from renewable sources by 2021, beginning with a 2 percent requirement in 2011. Approved sources include solar energy, wind, hydropower, landfill gas and biomass. The new mandate formalizes a good-faith agreement passed in 2007, which asked utilities to generate at least 11 percent of their power from renewables by 2020.

By making the initiative mandatory, Missouri joins 27 other states in initiating an RPS. While no two states have exactly the same provisions, each standard was created with the goal of requiring electricity providers to use renewable sources to generate energy. According to the U.S. DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, a list of specific issues should be considered by states considering an RPS: the definition of eligible resources, the purchase requirement for each utility's portfolio, enforcement of the standard and penalties for noncompliance, and what state agency should be responsible for implementing and enforcing the standard.

According to the EERE, potential benefits of an RPS include a diversification of the state's energy supply, greater production of less environmentally harmful electricity and increased market demand for renewable energy industries.