Commentary: Clean energy is a win for everyone

This editorial appeared in The Kansas City Star.

After years of inaction, Missouri has finally moved forward on an ambitious energy agenda.

It should help consumers use less electricity and save money, spur utilities to produce more renewable power and better control harmful emissions from coal-fired power plants.

Voters last November jumpstarted the push by endorsing the Missouri Clean Energy Initiative, which requires utilities to provide more electricity from renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power.

This month, the Missouri General Assembly followed up by sending a solid energy efficiency bill to Gov. Jay Nixon. He should sign it, and then utilities ought to push ahead with new plans to save energy.

A large number of businesses, utilities and environmental groups supported the legislation.

Utilities want to be able to charge slightly higher rates, in part to cover the costs of programs designed to promote energy efficiency.

Consumers benefit with more access, for example, to programmable thermostats or to rebates on more efficient air conditioners.

The new bill recognizes that utilities have few incentives to offer energy-efficiency programs if they simply cut into revenues and profits. That’s where the slightly higher rates would come in, after a thorough review by the Missouri Public Service Commission.

To read the complete editorial, visit The Kansas City Star.