Ways To Save The Planet coming soon include the EcoFest at Cooper’s Landing, Indivisible Meeting in Jefferson City, Citizens' Climate Lobby Meeting in Columbia, Sustainable Living Fair at Columbia City Hall, and more on Show Me Solar’s Events Calendar. https://www.showmesolar.org/projects
Join the Sierra Club and other Climate Action Leaders on Tuesday, 9/5/17, at the Columbia City Council meeting at 7 PM, to ask the city to plan for 100% renewable energy and an associated 100% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 in the soon to be developed Columbia climate action plan.
Citizens’ Climate Lobby Meeting in Ashland has been moved to Columbia: Saturday, September 9, 2017 Citizens’ Climate Lobby Meeting
11:45am — Arrive for national call (optional) 12:45pm — Local meeting begins We’ll wrap things up about 2:00pm.
Meeting with the Concerned Citizens of Callaway County, Fulton, and Jefferson City, provided fresh perspectives on the same stubborn issues. The same recurring questions keep coming up:
What’s the matter with Missouri? What can be done to change things?
This offers a slightly different perspective and approach to the issue: Shouldn’t we be much farther along by now? If we took Al Gore’s advice we’d be done by now! Or Jimmy Carter's, we’d have been done 40 years ago. Reflecting the growing frustration and concern that if we don’t take action soon to prevent further climate change it will be like we’re on the …
Why is it that while solar and wind energy are booming in many other states, reducing costs for consumers, creating thousands of new jobs and revitalizing their economies, it is stubbornly difficult for alternatives to get traction here? Why is Missouri still generating 80 percent of its electricity from burning coal in aging power plants nearly 10 years since the passage of the Renewable Energy Standards?
77% of Missourians support solar, wind, renewables
In order to leave our children a livable world, we need to transition to 100 percent renewables as expeditiously as possible. What can be done to make this happen?
The one thing we know is that it’s not a lack of concern or inability on the part of the citizens to assess the situation and provide a workable solution. Taking time away from their busy lives and jobs to get it done. Missouri’s concerned citizens took action in 2008, in view of the inaction on the part of our state government, Missourians put the Renewable Energy Standards (RES) on the ballot and passed the it with an overwhelming two-thirds of the vote. Their support has grown to 77% according to a recent survey.
The RES Law calls for the state to start ramping up the amount of electricity coming from renewable energy sources - namely, solar, wind, geothermal, and energy efficiency. These are the state’s most abundant energy resources. Why has the legislature and the PSC been hard at work steadily dismantling the RES ever since? What can we do to change things?
With the passage of the RES came the launch of the solar rebates in Ameren and KCP&L service areas in 2010. Solar soon took off, becoming an exponential growth sector. Thousands of jobs were created over the next four years, as well as many new businesses. By law the program was designed to be ongoing, but Ameren and KCP&L petitioned the Public Service Commission four years after the launch of the program in 2010 and ended the program on December 31, 2013. By that time Missouri’s budding solar industry had already created over 3,000 jobs, more than the state’s coal-powered industry, while tapping less than 1 percent of the market. Many of the new businesses went under and thousands of jobs were lost.
Fast forward to 2017 when today, we the people are confronted with headlines like:
Missouri governor calling lawmakers back for special session
“… The Governor believes [the bill] could generate 500 jobs in Missouri's Bootheel region. ... allowing Ameren to charge lower electric rates to large industrial users. Greitens… is confident the steel company would choose the New Madrid... site by June 30. But the legislation offers no guaranteed jobs, …”
[However] “it could raise electric rates for all Ameren customers even if the two companies don’t come here or create any jobs. Greitens didn’t highlight that portion of the measure when he was unloading on lawmakers for not passing the bill in the run-up to the special session. He also didn’t mention the fact that Ameren was one of his largest campaign contributors in his run for governor. …”
Even though four of its five members stated unequivocally that a proposed wind energy transmission line would be in the public interest, the Missouri Public Service Commission on Wednesday said it could not grant Clean Line Energy Partners a permit for development of the Grain Belt Express.
The commission said it was constrained by a recent state appeals court ruling in a different transmission case. http://midwestenergynews.com/2017/08/16/missouri-regulators-unable-to-act-in-public-interest-deal-grain-belt-express-another-setback/
What has happened to “Government of the people, by the people, and for the people”?
We are witnessing devastating climate change fast becoming the new normal. While the nation’s and many states’ governments ignore the will and best interests of the people they are elected and sworn to serve.
What can be done to change things? It depends upon where you live. In cities outside of Ameren and KCP&l service areas, with their own municipal power providers, renewable energy is taking off in a variety of ways:
Rockport Missouri was the first city in the US to be powered 100 percent by the wind.
Cities such as Kirkwood have gone on record with the Mayors publicly telling the PSC they want a piece of the Grain Belt wind power to provide low cost, clean energy.
Springfield, Columbia, Rolla, among others already have installed utility-scale and community solar arrays for their subscribing customers.
Kansas City has a Climate Protection Plan it launched in 2008.
The City of Columbia has a Climate Action and Adaptation Plan in the process of being launched in the next few months.
Cities can take these bold initiatives because they are not regulated by the PSC, in other words they are deregulated. They are democratic forms of government that can still function and respond to the best interests of their citizens.
In contrast, investor-owned utilities Ameren, KCP&L, and Empire Electric do not represent the public interest, but only their shareholders. As the largest power providers in the state, they lobby the Governor, PSC, and Legislators heavily, make huge campaign contributions, and rule the roost when it comes to power generation in the state. Profit is by definition their guiding principle.
Rural Electric Cooperatives are also not regulated by the PSC. Like cities with their own municipal power operations, in principle, Rural Electric Cooperatives are free to move forward with advancing renewables. For some reason, however, RECs are seemingly joined at the hip with the IOUs, Ameren and KCP&L, in terms of their energy policies and practices.
In the entire state, two RECs in all of Missouri, Clay-Platte and Boone Electric Cooperatives, have installed Community Solar arrays. Also snapped up as much clean low cost wind energy as is currently available. Wind-powered electricity is cheaper than coal fired power plants, but there isn’t nearly enough wind energy to go around to meet the growing demand.
Frustrating as this picture is, is where our state of the state is today. While we are witnessing a steady series of worst case scenario nightmare weather-disasters taking place around the country and the world with climate change written all over them. The most heart-breaking and apocalyptic of all is the scene still unfolding in Houston, Texas, and the surrounding areas, including Louisiana, being hit with a 1 in 10,000 year disaster.
The horrific human toll, like a wartime atrocity, a genocide, is a massive tragedy that cannot be alleviated once it’s underway. The events leading up to it, the denial, the inaction, amount to crimes against humanity. The damage discussion of how many billions the US government will be called upon, to assist in the reconstruction, will have to reckoned with, as it will to a degree, and then like in Haiti, Katrina, Sandy,,,, if history serves, many of the victims will be left by the wayside, given insufficient assistance to get back on their feet. Many people will never recover their lives to anything remotely resembling their lives before last week’s latest catastrophe to hit the U.S..
While devastating climate change is the new normal, the nation’s and many states’ governments are still ignoring and denying, the will of the people. As bad as things are now is only a sneak preview, a tip of the iceberg of what the future holds, if we don’t find a way out of this mess!
What can we do to change things?
Not everyone can get down to Houston to help with the relief effort from Hurricane Harvey. We can all begin to take action to stop further climate change to prevent matters from becoming worse. The Paris Climate Accord calls for the United States to take the lead in stopping greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) from coal and natural gas burning power plants, and petroleum-fueled motor vehicles. We have the technology to do this! We can change the political will.
See An Inconvenient Sequel – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ZLZeeE_4nI However, just to see this movie in Missouri calls for citizen action. Why isn’t this important movie showing anywhere in St. Louis, Columbia, Jefferson City, or across most if not the entire rest of the state? Ask your local theaters to arrange a showing and make it worth their while – Get the word out to your community.
Contact your State and Federal Legislators, who are back in their districts. Thus far from being on vacation seven months out of every year, they are supposed to be more available and have more time to be meeting with and hearing from us, their constituents about how they can address the urgent issues of looking out for our best interests, improving our quality of life, advancing renewables, job creation, reducing Missouri’s major greenhouse gas emissions, so that cities like Houston never again have to face the terrible hurricanes, storms, and flooding currently engulfing their citizens and city.
Read online about the important work the Citizens’ Climate Lobby is doing in Washington DC and around the world to establish a price on carbon. Attend the Citizens’ Climate Lobby Meeting nearest you in local chapters across the U.S. – in Mid-Missouri at the Ashland Public Library 11:45AM on Tuesday, September 12, 2017 and other climate events coming up on Show Me Solar’s Calendar at https://www.showmesolar.org/projects
Energy Conservation and Energy Efficiency Programs are underway in Columbia, Ameren Service Areas for both homeowners and businesses, plus many Rural Electric Cooperatives. Find out how you can save on your energy costs!
Community Solar – Find out why Minnesota’s community solar program is the best in the country, and explain it to your state senator and representative: