Millions of dollars of new investment in Missouri are on hold today as the state legislature adjourned without addressing the major obstacles that for three years have held back Missouri's renewable energy law from being implemented.
In 2008 Missouri voters approved a law—by a solid 66-percent majority—requiring electric utilities to diversify their energy mix and get 15 percent of their electricity from renewable resources by 2021. But the law, which promised to foster economic development in the state, has yet to be implemented, instead stymied by gridlock and inaction as a result of a series of procedural hurdles and arguments among stakeholders which the legislature failed to resolve.
"New wind projects in Missouri are in jeopardy until this issue is resolved," said Susan Williams Sloan, director of state relations at the American Wind Energy Association. "We appreciate the time and effort of those who worked on proposed legislation this year," said Sloan. "But in the end, the voters are still waiting—three years later—for this law to be implemented."
While Missouri fails to act, its neighboring states continue to enjoy millions of dollars of investment from the wind industry.In 2010 Illinois was second in the nation for new installed wind capacity, adding almost 500 megawatts last year—more than Missouri 's total amount of wind power. Iowa has been reaping the economic benefits of wind power for years, having put in place one of the earliest renewable energy requirements. Iowa's rapid growth in wind power generation has attracted a significant number of major manufacturing plants and wind projects, bringing more than 4,000 jobs and over $5 billion in investment to the state.
"Schools and counties in rural Missouri are missing out on additional local income. Landowners who can host turbines on their land are missing out on lease revenues. Missouri ratepayers have yet to benefit from more 20-year, fixed-price wind contracts, which help protect them from rate increases associated with short-term fuel-price volatility. In short, the benefits of renewable energy and a diversified portfolio continue to wait—despite voters' directive to lawmakers three years ago," said Sloan.