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Report: MO Remains Among Worst for Energy Efficiency

Missouri remains among the worst in the nation, according to the latest state rankings on energy efficiency. Credit: ACEEE
Missouri remains among the worst in the nation, according to the latest state rankings on energy efficiency. Credit: ACEEE
October 23, 2015

ST. LOUIS - When it comes to policies and practices that move states into a cleaner, more energy-efficient future, Missouri is not making the grade, according to an annual scorecard.

The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy ranks Missouri 44th in the nation, exactly where it was last year.

Missouri Sierra Club chapter director John Hickey said failing to invest in greener technologies is costing the state on several fronts.

"Missourians are paying too much on our monthly energy bills. We're putting additional air pollution in the air. We have high unemployment in the construction sector," he said. "That is a win-win-win if we invest more in energy efficiency."

Gov. Jay Nixon's recently released energy plan calls for the state's utilities to make mandatory investments in energy efficiency, which Hickey said has helped other Midwestern states such as Illinois and Iowa make big improvements. Both states now rank in the top 15 in the nation, according to the report.

Steve Sneed, director of education for the Sheet Metal Workers union in St. Louis, said it's frustrating to see other states make energy-efficiency gains and save money while Missouri continues to lag behind, despite having what he calls all the right pieces of the puzzle.

"I'm at a loss," he said, "because the technology is there, the equipment is there, the manpower, the hours, the men are there, as far as we're concerned at Local 36."

When it comes to energy efficiency, Hickey said, small changes add up to big improvements. He said retrofitting older buildings with more energy-efficient systems and creating more stringent building codes for new construction will go a long way toward helping the state meet the goals outlined by the Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan.

"That is the cheapest, cleanest way to generate energy, and it also creates the most jobs," he said. "More jobs are created by investments in energy efficiency than investing money in, for example, the dirty old coal plants we have in our state."

This year, the 20 states which made improvements in their energy-efficiency rankings all had policies encouraging, and in many cases requiring, utilities to invest in energy efficiency.

The report is online at aceee.org.

Mona Shand, Public News Service - MO