Solve Climate by 2030

April 7, 2020

WUCCP partnered with UMSL for an international webinar and conversation on Missouri climate solutions by 2030. This event was in coordination with Bard University’s national Virtual Teach-in on Climate Solutions and Justice.

Useful Materials

Use these Multi-disciplinary guides for online learning.  

Slides from the Panel – Power Dialogue Slides

Visit the Switch Energy Alliance mentioned during the panel

Solutions for Missouri Panelists

John Hickey

Sierra Club – Missouri Chapter Director

Andrew Linhares

Renew Missouri – Regional Director & Senior Counsel

Gwen Mizell

Ameren – VP of Sustainability and Electrification 

Three Feasible, but Ambitious Actions for Missourians

  1. Take Advantage of Existing Utility Programs: residential and commercial customers can make huge investments in EE by using rebates and incentives; large customers can purchase wind energy from Ameren’s “Renewable Choice” program; residential and small business customers can get half their electricity from local solar through Ameren’s “Community Solar” program.
  2. Contact local politicians to advocate for change:
    • Ask your mayor to sign ‘Mayors for Clean Energy’.  The MO PSC expects utilities to respond to these mayors and make more clean energy available. 
    • Advocate for electric fleets
    • Grain Belt Express wind energy transmission line – would provide clean, cheap wind to small towns & major metro areas in MO.
  3. Call for updated goals/codes in Missouri
    • Our existing RES law (15% by 2021) is out of date, and a new ambitious goal is needed to focus development for the future and chart a clear path to a clean energy future.
    • Adoption of modern building energy codes in cities and counties across MO, include EV & Solar Ready.  EE is the cheapest & cleanest energy.

Questions Generated from the Panel

Energy Policy and Engagement
  • Who, as MO voters, do we need to reach out to in order to get our voices heard the loudest?
  • Are there particular policies that we should mobilize against or for currently in Missouri?
  • I’m interested in how can grassroots/political campaigns address dirty energy’s lobby within government? What can someone do to affect climate policy/advocacy in local communities?
  • I have read a little about the concept of net metering? Why is this not openly embraced? It seems like it could solve the problem with how outdated our grid is here in the United States as I have learned in my environmental sustainability that we must rapidly replace transmission lines as we transition towards electric from gas. Just this week Kansas’s Supreme Court ruled that Evergy cannot discriminate its net metering customers with higher rates. Why are electric companies against this especially considering they cannot handle demand at times during peaks?
  • 30th in energy efficiency is real progress as MO was ranked around 43-45 a few years ago and lots of room for improvement!

Energy Efficient Buildings
  • Can we build support for prompt adoption by cities and Missouri state of the 2021 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC)?  Because it would achieve significantly more efficiency than the 2018 IECC code would.
  • To add to my previous comment, per a local architect here in KC MO, “Evaluating and adopting the new IECC 2021 is important because the past two code cycles (2015 & 2018) have only increased energy efficiency measures by 1% (see chart below).  Additionally, the amendments to the 2018 IECC being proposed even further decrease the energy efficiency measures. The upcoming IECC 2021 increases energy efficiency measures by 10% and offers an optional incentivized Zero-Code appendix.”IECC 2021 increases energy efficiency measures  by 10% and offers an optional incentivized Zero-Code appendix.”
Non-energy Climate Solutions
  • Energy is very important. We’ve been talking about it for a long time. I’m glad more people are paying attention. I would like to hear what measures are happening beyond energy. As we are moving to clean energy, we could be cycling carbon through our soil which would help stabilize weather patterns. Are any of you aware or working on this? I would be happy to talk with anyone interested.
Energy and Electrification
  • 700 Megawatts could impact how much exactly? 20%, 30% of households?
  • Which is the bigger barrier to 100% renewable energy: storage/consistency or funding? Beyond efficiency upgrades and programs, what can we do to push away from coal power at the grid level?
  • In the quest for complete electrification of transportation and shifting to renewable sources for energy generation, how secure are the supply lines of Rare Earth Elements, both light and heavy, to achieve this goal from a domestic manufacturing standpoint? Are there any sizable investments for recycling Rare Earth Elements in Missouri?
  • Are there tax incentives and other motivating incentives for electric school buses?
Impacts of Wind Energy
  • What’s the impact of Wind Energy on the native bird population?
  • How do you reconcile the health of the environment with the fact that wind turbines kill hundreds, if not thousands, of birds?
Regarding Utility Companies

There were several questions about why Ameren was included in the panel. We asked Ameren to participate because as the state’s largest electrical utility, they need to be at the table as we talk about emissions reductions and energy solutions. We recognize that Ameren has significant work to do to reduce the use of fossil fuels in electricity generation in the state. We also believe that their participation in events such as these enable them to hear from the community as well.

  • Is there any avenue for publicly owned utility companies to take a major role in climate change and the state? It is uncomfortable to give Ameren (a private company) a literal monopoly on energy in this state. I’m sure they are well-intentioned people, but a profit-motive to this problem, is uncomfortable.
  • What type of incentives would it take to motivate Ameren to replace coal-fired plants with renewable energy sources?
  • If all of these sustainability measures are in place at Ameren, which is our energy monopoly here in MO, why are we 30th?
  • According to the Ameren Integrated Resource Plan, they plan to only cut emissions by 80% by 2050. This goal is not at all in line with the representation of the plan during this call, it is not in agreement with the other panelists, and it is unacceptable when looking at the crisis we’re facing. We have to cut emissions by 2030 if we’re going to avoid 2 degrees of warming and the loss of human lives. Why is Ameren on this call misrepresenting themselves as being a leader on this if they aren’t doing the minimum we need as a society?
  • Why is Ameren participating in this panel when their emissions reduction plan puts them on track to keep burning fossil fuels in 2050 and beyond?