The landmark arch in St. Louis Missouri.
Missouri recently ranked near the bottom for
energy efficiency in a report issued from the
American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy
(Photo: Jason Sibert / NLN)
ST. LOUIS — October 15, 2012. Why does the state of Missouri rank so low on energy efficiency?
The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy’s sixth annual energy efficiency report card recently ranked Missouri 43rd among states in energy efficiency. The report is compiled on the basis of the efficiency of utility programs, energy codes, transportation policies, the amount of energy produced by co-generation, state government initiative and appliance and equipment standards, said ACEEE Utilities Program Director Dan York.
Sierra Club Missouri Chapter President John Hickey said building codes and energy efficiency programs make a difference on the stateâ??s rankings on energy efficiency. Missouri has no state wide building codes, like the neighboring state of Illinois and most states in the union. In addition, most states update codes every three years, Hickey said. Missouri allows individual cities to set their own codes and some donâ??t update with any regular frequency.
Also, most states have energy efficiency programs that encourage thrift by requiring increases in efficiency on a yearly basis and Missouri fails to follow the same practices, Hickey said. Hickey also said coal plays an influence on the energy efficiency debate, as St. Louis area residents breath coal induced pollution from local plants while much of the coal burned in Missouri is mined out of state in Wyoming.
“We’re importing pollution and exporting jobs,” Hickey said. “We also pay the price in increased health costs from the coal pollution.”
Also, 25 percent of the energy produced by Ameren Missouri, a utility company which supplies the St. Louis area, is exported to areas outside of Ameren’s service area, said Hickey. The Missouri Sierra Club head said increases in energy efficiency could decrease coal pollution by allowing for some coal plants to be closed. In addition, energy efficiency would increase the health of local economy, as energy efficiency jobs are local jobs because local labor will be used to do such things as upgrade lights and replace old lights with new ones.
Ameren Missouri has committed to a three-year energy efficiency program which is scheduled to start in January of 2013, said Hickey. Ameren will invest 147 million in the new program, according to an Ameren press release. The press release also said the investment in efficiency represents the biggest in the state’s history. Ameren Communications Executive Lisa Manzo said all of the details of the program have not been released from to the public yet but that the program will have 11 different components aimed at both businesses and residential areas. She also said utility customers will be given an incentive to conserve and rebates will be available. Customers interested in the program can look for updates at actoutenergy.com.
Hickey said that Ameren has made commitments to efficiency before, but the programs haven’t been continuous. He hopes the new program will lead to a permanent investment in energy efficiency.