Renewable energy requirement met for Columbia
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Renewable energy requirement met for Columbia

Date: October 19, 2009
By: Emily Coleman
State Capitol Bureau

JEFFERSON CITY - Columbia Water and Light met its 2012 renewable energy requirement with the purchase of energy from a new facility that turns gas from landfills into electricity.

The proposition, passed in November 2004 by Columbia voters, mandated that the city's municipal utility needed to generate or purchase at least 5 percent of its energy from renewable sources, including solar, wind and landfill. The next requirement is 10 percent by 2017.

"This is meeting the will of the people as expressed by a more than 70 percent margin in their vote," Mayor Darwin Hindman said. "Interestingly enough, the goals, which are escalating goals, they call for 5 percent of all of our electric generation to come from renewable fuels by the year 2012, but with this project, we've already reached that goal."

The proposition was passed by 78 percent of voters with a total of 45,460 votes. The population was about 91,000 in 2004, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

The energy purchase will not affect the rates of Columbia residents, Hindman said.

The landfill gas will be piped to an engine facility at the nearby Jefferson City Correctional Center where the gas will be turned into electricity. The steam will be used to make hot water, cutting the natural gas consumption of the Jefferson City Correctional Center and the Algoa Correctional Center by 50 percent, Gov. Jay Nixon said.

Through this and by closing the boiler plant at Algoa, Nixon said the state will save more than $1 million annually.

The plant has already been closed, according to Corrections Department spokeswoman Jacqueline Lapine.

The facility will also generate 80 jobs in Jefferson City, Nixon said. No jobs were lost by closing the Algoa boiler plant through retirements and replacement, Lapine said.

"I've often said to keep Missouri's economic engine moving forward, we need to compete and win in this new economy," Nixon said. "We must encourage and embrace emerging science and technology."

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