House OKs bill setting renewable energy objectives

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- House members passed legislation Tuesday intended to prompt electric companies to generate more of their power with renewable energy sources.

The measure, endorsed 146-6, sets a goal for renewable energy sources but does not penalize those utilities that do not meet the objective. The bill asks for a "good faith effort" to use renewable sources such as solar, wind, hydroelectric and biomass power.

Utilities would need to try to use non-fossil fuel sources for 4 percent of electric sales by 2012, which would double in 2015 and reach 11 percent in 2020. Bill supporters say it is a step toward using more environmentally friendly ways to produce power.

It would be up to the Public Service Commission to determine if electric utilities have tried hard enough to promote renewable energy sources.

The commission would also be allowed to give utilities more credit for using certain alternative energy sources than others.

The Public Service Commission regulates those utilities that have a monopoly and has authority to oversee electric, sewer and water rates.

The commission would be required to create a biennial report starting in 2010 to detail progress toward reaching the energy objectives.

Strip miners would also need to pay an additional fee to collect and distribute geologic and hydrologic information for miners. The money would go to a newly created Geologic Resources Fund and could not be used for any other purposes.

The Department of Natural Resources could charge a flat fee of up to $100, plus a fee on each acre of the mine.

The legislation also allows cities to produce electricity from landfills and yard wastes if the Department of Natural Resources approves the project.

The measure has already cleared the Senate, but the House made changes and lawmakers need to agree to the same version. The session ends May 18.

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