Missouri’s electricity production has historically relied heavily on coal-fired power plants. These existing power plants release significant, unlimited amounts of carbon pollution into the air, causing significant health and environmental problems. Additionally, Missouri doesn’t even benefit from the jobs and economic activity associated with the coal industry because it sends over a billion dollars to other states to purchase it.
In recent years, Missouri has developed policies to encourage more investments in clean and renewable energy sources and energy efficiency here at home. These additional investments in clean energy and energy efficiency have already produced significant economic benefits for the state—creating quality jobs and ensuring reliable, affordable electricity.
According to a statewide survey, 77% of Missourians favor a state plan that would reduce carbon pollution in the state by:
- closing certain old, outdated and highly polluting coal power plants;
- improving the efficiency of other existing coal plants;
- making greater use of existing natural gas power plants;
- increasing use of clean and renewable energy like wind and solar; and
- expanding utility programs to help consumers improve the energy efficiency of their homes and reduce their electricity bills.
Missouri had 68,534 green jobs as of 2011, and by the end of 2014, the Missouri solar industry will have created over 3,700 jobs and added $415 million to the state’s economy. In early 2014, Clean Line Energy Partners announced plans for a high-voltage line to transfer 3,500 megawatts of wind power from Kansas to states to the east, crossing Missouri and creating approximately 2,800 jobs right here in Missouri.
Missouri’s large tracts of windy land and fertile soil, located relatively close to dense, energy-consuming urban centers, put the state in a prime position to become a national leader in renewable energy. Studies show that a local renewable energy industry in Missouri would create tens of thousands of jobs and provide substantial new sources of income for farmers.
By developing solar and wind power, making biomass energy from agricultural waste, and growing dedicated energy crops to make advanced biofuels, Missouri can keep its energy dollars at home and even start exporting energy to other states.
Unhealthy air leads to more childhood asthma attacks, and increases complications for those with lung disease and other chronic health conditions. Cutting carbon emissions and transitioning to clean energy could reduce the related 8,000 annual Missouri hospital admissions, which is why many health groups, like the American Lung Association support such an effort. Plus, nearly seven in ten Missourians believe increasing clean energy use and energy efficiency would give Missouri healthier air–reducing asthma and lung disease, and ultimately saving lives.
Missouri is in the process of developing a comprehensive state energy plan that would potentially reduce carbon pollution and expand clean energy and energy efficiency investments. This summer, the EPA released a Clean Power Plan with standards for reducing carbon pollution—in Missouri that means a 21 percent reduction by 2030 compared with 2005 levels. Missouri is already on the right track to achieve that goal. It now has the opportunity to leverage its existing statewide clean energy and energy efficiency policies and expand them to ensure a strong economy, a healthy environment and a secure energy future.
For more information about the statewide survey, <click here>.