Missouri's House Committee on Renewable Energy, which was created specifically to hash out the details of Proposition C – a ballot initiative that established a 15% by 2021 renewable portfolio standard (RPS) but was never implemented – after Missouri's General Assembly voted to remove the in-state requirements of the ballot measure, voted 10-0 last week to approve H.B.613, also known as the Renewable Energy Act.
Rep. Jason Holsman, D-Kansas City, introduced H.B.613, which repeals and re-establishes provisions of the RPS that were part of Proposition C in 2008. But the bill is not as strong as Proposition C, according to Renew Missouri, a strong proponent of the ballot measure. According to Carla Klein, a clean energy organizer with the renewable energy advocacy group, the latest version of H.B.613 is the 21st adaptation of the bill.
‘Any further weakening of the bill, and we will not be able to support it,’ she notes.
For example, rather than requiring the state's investor-owned utilities to obtain 15% of their energy from renewable resources by 2021, H.B.613 requires utilities to make a ‘good faith’ effort to meet this target; there are no penalties if utilities fail to meet the target.
One of the goals of Proposition C, which passed with 66% of the vote, was to develop renewable energy projects within the state and, as a result, create jobs. But the in-state requirements of Proposition C were removed, thus severely impacting renewable energy development in the state.
The new bill includes in-state requirements, but they would not be implemented until 2017. Before 2013, renewable energy certificates (RECs) can be purchased from anywhere in the U.S., according to the bill. Before 2017, RECs can be earned only for energy delivered to Missouri from anywhere in the U.S., and after 2017, RECs can only be earned for energy directly produced in state or as a result of an approved interconnection or net-metering agreement, the bill states.
The bill is expected to come to the House floor for a vote this week. Klein says that Gov. Jay Nixon, D-Mo., and Speaker of the House Steven Tilley have expressed support for H.B.613, but time is running out because Missouri's legislative session ends in mid-May.
‘Even though it's getting late in the session to move a bill, we're remaining hopeful that we can still get it done,’ says Klein.