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Report: Energy Efficiency "Makes Cents" in Missouri

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August 31, 2011

ST. LOUIS - Making homes more energy-efficient, such as adding insulation and new windows, can mean lower utility bills - and more jobs for Missouri.

A new study by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy shows savings of $6 billion and creation of 8,500 jobs by 2025.

While Missouri has energy-efficiency policies in place, such as the Property Assessed Clean Energy or "PACE" program, Edward Smith with the Missouri Coalition for the Environment says some of those policies must be improved so consumers and businesses can afford the up-front costs.

"What we do not have in Missouri is these energy-efficiency policies consumers like, industry likes and that utilities like. That's where we need to focus our legislative efforts, before we start worrying about building huge new energy-generation stations like a nuclear reactor."

Energy efficiency also stimulates the economy, Smith says.

"The question really comes down to, do we want to invest in energy efficiency, which is going to put more people to work, or do we want to invest in nuclear power?"

If all the recommendations from the study are implemented, Smith says, the state's overall demand for electricity would decrease 17 percent by 2025.

Missouri's largest investor-owned utility, Ameren/UE, has tried several times to repeal a consumer-protection law in its efforts to build a second nuclear power plant and pass the costs on to ratepayers. A second nuclear reactor in Callaway County is estimated to cost $9 billion to build.

The report is online at aceee.org.

Heather Claybrook, Public News Service - MO