Missouri is a major contributor to the 40 billion tons per year of greenhouse gases (GHG) pumped into earth's atmosphere, the slender, 60-mile high breathing space encircling the planet, that contains our entire supply of life-supporting air.
Due to our state government and utilities' stubborn persistence in burning 40 million tons per year of coal to generate 80 percent of the states' electricity, Missouri's annual GHG emissions pump another over 125 million tons of CO2 into the air per year. This is more than one full day of earth's annual 40 billion tons per year of global greenhouse gas emissions. Much of which will remain in the atmosphere for tens of thousands of years.
In contrast, less than 1 percent of the electricity produced in Missouri is solar power. This is despite the fact that Missourians overwhelmingly support solar, having passed the Renewable Energy Standards by voter ballot initiative in 2008, calling for 15 percent of Missouri's electricity to come from renewable sources by 2021.
For its part, Missouri's Legislature has passed a grand total of one (1) law in support of solar, the Net Metering Law. Since its passage in 2007, lawmakers have continually sought to make solar less viable. HB 340 proposed in 2017 would have increased solar owners' fixed electricity charges by 75 percent, pricing future solar out of the reach of many prospective solar homeowners and businesses.
The Renewable Energy Standards (RES) that Missouri voters overwhelmingly passed in 2008 called for a solar rebate, to help launch the industry, which began in 2010. By 2013 the solar industry had become an exponential growth sector, installing 100 MW of solar power, adding over $400 million to the state's economy, launching 45 new businesses, and employing more workers than the state's coal-burning power plants.
The solar rebates launched in 2010 were ongoing, but as swiftly as they took off, they were shut down at the end of 2013 by the Public Service Commission at the request of Ameren and Kansas City Power & Light. This in turn has led to the loss of countless jobs and businesses, with many of the newest falling belly up by the wayside.
According Stanford climate scientist Mark Jacobson, Missouri can generate 100 percent of its electricity from solar, hydro, and wind. If the carbon tax or price on carbon nearing passage at the national level makes it across the finish line in time, it would go a long way toward financing the urgently necessary transition to 100 percent renewables in time to leave future generations a livable world.
Meanwhile, states like Missouri are getting left farther behind economically, while across the U.S. solar already employs more workers than the U.S. steel and coal industries, combined.
See Solar Energy in the United States: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wFMkL2QIduY
As published in the Jefferson City News Tribune - http://www.newstribune.com/news/opinion/story/2017/may/06/your-opinion-solar-power-less-1-percent-missouris-electricity-generation/672926/
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