Missouri- court upholds renewable energy rules

Missouri court upholds renewable energy rules [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

By Jeffrey Tomich, St. Louis Post-Dispatch McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

Nov.
20–A Missouri appeals court on Tuesday upheld Public Service
Commission rules outlining how the state’s renewable energy law is
implemented.
The
opinion from the Western District Court of Appeals reverses a lower
court order concerning the impact of the green power mandate on electric
rates. Earlier this year, a Cole County Circuit Court judge had
declared the rules “unlawful and unreasonable” and remanded the matter
back to the PSC.
Tuesday’s
court decision is a victory both for the PSC, which spent months
developing the rules, and renewable energy advocates, who filed a brief
on the commission’s behalf.
Henry
Robertson, a lawyer representing Renew Missouri, said the lower court
ruling could have had a “crippling effect” on efforts to advance green
power in the state if it had been upheld.
Missouri
voters approved the state’s renewable energy standard by a 2-1 ratio in
2008. The law requires Ameren and other for-profit utilities to
gradually increase the use of renewable energy through 2021, when 15
percent of their power must come from wind, sun and other renewable
resources.
The
law says the use of renewable energy cannot cause electric rates to
rise more than 1 percent from what they would be otherwise. The rate cap
provision in the rules was at the heart of the legal battle.
The
PSC rules require utilities to use a 10-year average when calculating
the 1 percent rate impact to allow for higher upfront costs. Utilities
argued for a narrower definition of how rates are affected.
Tuesday’s
court decision is the latest chapter in a long-standing battle over how
for-profit utilities in Missouri must add renewable energy to their
generating portfolios. And it may not be over yet.
Ameren
Missouri and other utilities that challenged the PSC rules may seek a
rehearing or try to get the state Supreme Court to take up the case.
An
official with Missouri Energy Development Association, the utility
lobby in the state, wasn’t available Tuesday afternoon. An Ameren
Missouri spokeswoman said the utility had no immediate comment and said
the utility was still reviewing the court opinion.
___
(c)2012 the St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Visit the St. Louis Post-Dispatch at http://www.stltoday.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services

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