This article is written by Karen Uhlenhuth from Energy News Network
A Canadian company’s plan to aggressively shift a Missouri utility to clean energy is facing opposition from state officials.
Proponents of cleaner energy in coal-reliant Missouri had lofty expectations in 2016, when Algonquin Power & Utilities bought Empire District Electric Co. At the time, Empire claimed it could build 800 MW of wind energy, close a 200-MW coal plant next April — about 16 years early — and save ratepayers as much as $325 million over 20 years.
The utility said it could do this with a substantial investment from a tax-equity investor, by tapping the federal production tax credit and saving $20 million it otherwise would have to spend to make federally mandated environmental upgrades to the power plant it has proposed closing.
Under the proposal, wind’s share of generation for Empire customers would have increased from 14% in 2016 to 51% by 2023. Coal’s share over that period would have fallen from 49% to 21%.
“It’s great to see a utility embrace this stuff,” said James Owen, executive director of Renew Missouri.
However, the state’s Office of Public Counsel and the staff of the Missouri Public Service Commission are skeptical.
Read the full article here.
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