ST. LOUIS – The Missouri Department of Economic Development’s Department of Energy released recommendations for a statewide comprehensive energy plan Wednesday at a conference in St. Louis.
“With world-class research institutions, innovative businesses and a highly-skilled workforce, Missouri is well-positioned to build a more secure and independent energy future that will benefit families and businesses alike,” said Mike Downing, director for the Missouri Department of Economic Development. “These recommendations will provide valuable guidance for policymakers looking to grow Missouri’s energy solutions industry and spur job creation throughout our state.”
The recommendations fall into five different categories, which focus on the efficiency of energy use; energy affordability; diversity and security of supply; regulatory improvements; and innovation, emerging technologies and job creation.
Specifics call to improve Missouri’s water infrastructure, empower the use of solar energy systems and make upgrades and expansions to Missouri’s grid.
After Gov. Jay Nixon signed an executive order in June 2014, the department; as well as representatives from energy coops and providers, businesses and other stakeholders; met from Oct. 2014 to the present to formulate the recommendations.
“The Division of Energy led a thoughtful, transparent and robust process to gather input from the public, and I thank the hundreds of Missourians across the state who contributed to this important effort,” Downing said in a statement.
The Missouri Clean Energy Coalition generally approved of the plan.
“Governor Nixon’s energy plan summary contains excellent policy proposals for accelerating Missouri’s already growing clean energy economy,” a spokesman for the MCEC in a statement. “We applaud the focus on maximizing the benefit of energy efficiency, increasing the commitment to renewable energy and addressing energy financing and affordability issues for both citizens and businesses, with a special emphasis on vulnerable populations who must be included in our clean energy economy.”
However, a lack of focus on one key issue left the MCEC wanting.
“We are disappointed the executive summary does not mention climate change as a reason for reducing our dependence on carbon intensive energy and we hope the plan will be updated to address these crucial issues.”