Missouri Comprehensive State Energy Plan

In October 2015, officials within the Missouri Department of Economic Development and the Division of Energy released the Comprehensive State Energy Plan, which outlined recommendations that would help the State transition to cleaner, more affordable, and more reliable energy. As a result of numerous public meetings and significant stakeholder participation, the agencies were able to divide their recommendations into five categories that would help Missouri achieve its energy goals: promoting efficiency of use; ensuring affordability; diversifying and promoting security in supply; undertaking regulatory improvements; and stimulating innovation, emerging technologies, and job creation. Compliance with these statewide recommendations will help to create new jobs, expand the economy, facilitate more efficient use of energy in all sectors, and help households more effectively manage their energy budgets – all in a more equitable manner. The Plan is a living document that serves as a resource for all elected officials, communities, businesses, and even individuals. In local, frontline communities especially, it is intended to serve as the basis for developing community-specific plans that not only emphasize its energy resources, but the priorities of the area. 

Efficiency of Use

The recommendations contained in this section of the Energy Plan facilitate using Missouri’s available energy resources in a more cost-effective way that will better meet the state’s energy needs. Certain strategies specifically address expanding energy efficiency programs to ensure that lower-income, frontline communities have better access to their benefits. These include actions like: 

  • Expanding the State’s Energy Loan Program to provide greater opportunities for small businesses to participate, in addition to establishing additional financing options
  • Improving outreach and assistance regarding the State’s Property Assessed Clean Energy Program – which offers “a simple and effective way to finance energy efficiency… upgrades” – to better encourage participation, especially in low-income communities
  • Expanding Missouri’s Link Deposit Program, which provides loans to small businesses, to create more local, clean energy jobs and extend energy savings

Energy Affordability

In terms of Energy Affordability, the plan highlights that “vulnerable households” such as low-income households disproportionately face higher energy burdens, including “greater incidence of late payment, disconnection, and unpaid balances.” The Plan states that making energy-use more affordable is essential not only to growing businesses and attracting new industry, but for providing a better quality of life to all State citizens – especially those that are disadvantaged. To help ensure energy affordability, the Plan recommends strategies including: 

  • Requiring that increased portions of the State’s Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program funding be allocated to the State’s Low Income Weatherization Assistance Program, which will help lower utility bills and help with energy savings
  • Authorizing the Utilicare Program annually, which provides financial support to frontline and disadvantaged households to pay utility bills
  • Better ensuring that owners of affordable housing developments are educated about the tax benefits associated with installing and using renewable energy sources
  • Expanding energy efficiency programs to “specifically target hard-to-reach customers, including multifamily properties”

Diversity and Security of Energy Supply

The plan emphasizes the importance of diversifying Missouri’s energy portfolio to include more renewable, innovative technologies. Doing so will result in more affordable utility bills, decreased supply constraints, and more reliable energy during emergencies. Recommendations include:

  • Expanding and creating standards that support and foster the growth of renewable energy
  • Enacting legislation that modernizes the grid
  • Creating incentives for “renewable development and installation”

Regulatory Improvements

To help ensure energy efficiency, affordability, and diversity, the plan states that certain regulatory changes may need to be implemented. For example, standardizing the “terms and conditions through which green power plans can be offered to electric utilities customers” can help ensure that frontline or disadvantaged communities get better access to renewable energy resources. Collaborating with these communities is also essential in the design and implementation of new regulations. “Policymaking that is grounded in analysis and that incorporates the perspectives of our citizens and business sector will guide Missouri into our energy future.”

Innovation, Emerging Technologies, and Job Creation

By incentivizing innovation and developing a skilled workforce dedicated to clean energy technology, the State will better be able to meet the goals outlined throughout the Plan. To do this, the Plan recommends strategies such as:

  • Encouraging and facilitating the development of public-private partnerships
  • Developing a job training program in conjunction with the Department of Higher Education and the Department of Labor that can help job seekers and workers learn the clean energy trade
  • Facilitating the relationship between government agencies and the public school system to develop an “energy-related curriculum offering for varying grade levels"

 

Publication Date: October 2015

Related Organizations:

  • Missouri Department of Economic Development
  • Missouri Department of Natural Resources, Division of Energy

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  • Plans (other)
  • Policy analysis/recommendations

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