Missouri renewables ballot initiative includes hydropower

Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan announced Sept. 9 a Renewable Energy initiative will appear on the November ballot with provisions to create a state renewables portfolio standard including small hydropower.

Initially, the Renewable Energy initiative was kept off the ballot because local election authorities in Missouri’s 3rd Congressional District determined the initiative petition fell 526 signatures short of the number required. However, a Cole County Circuit Court judge concluded Sept. 8 that a sufficient number of valid signatures was submitted, making the initiative eligible for the November 2008 ballot.

The initiative would require investor-owned electric utilities — which control 76 percent of Missouri’s generation — to obtain electricity from renewable energy sources such as small hydropower, solar, wind, and biomass. Renewable energy sources would have to supply at least 2 percent of retail sales by 2011, increasing incrementally to at least 15 percent by 2021.

Hydropower projects would be eligible to meet the mandated targets if they do not require a new diversion or impoundment of water and they have capacities of 10 MW or less. Pumped storage is excluded.

Missourians for Cleaner Cheaper Energy, of St. Louis, sponsored the measure, which also would repeal Missouri’s existing voluntary renewable energy standard. It said the initiative, if successful, would reduce the use of fossil fuel for electricity and encourage growth in Missouri’s renewable energy industries.

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