Columbia City Council approves increased renewable energy standards

January 8, 2014 by  
Filed under Green Energy News

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Mayor, Nauser cast ‘no’ votes.

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The Columbia City Council approved legislation at its regular meeting Monday night to increase goals for incorporating renewable sources into the city’s energy portfolio.


With passage of the bill, the share of renewable energy required in the city’s portfolio by 2018 was increased from 10 percent to 15 percent. The goal for 2023 was increased from 15 percent to 25 percent, and a new goal of 30 percent by 2029 was added.

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The Columbia City Council approved legislation at its regular meeting Monday night to increase goals for incorporating renewable sources into the city’s energy portfolio.


With passage of the bill, the share of renewable energy required in the city’s portfolio by 2018 was increased from 10 percent to 15 percent. The goal for 2023 was increased from 15 percent to 25 percent, and a new goal of 30 percent by 2029 was added.

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Water and Light Director Tad Johnsen told the council that 8 percent of the city’s energy portfolio is made up of renewable sources. Columbia’s renewable energy ordinance was enacted in 2004 with voter approval.

“I think people want government to lead here,” First Ward Councilman Fred Schmidt said before voting in favor of the amendment.

The council passed the bill with a 5-2 vote. Mayor Bob McDavid and Fifth Ward Councilwoman Laura Nauser cast the dissenting votes, citing the potential for increased costs to Water and Light customers as the utility seeks out more renewable sources.

“There are a lot of middle-class families out there who are paying a lot for energy,” McDavid said.

As part of the ordinance, the city may not raise rates more than 3 percent above what Water and Light customers would pay if Water and Light’s energy portfolio did not include renewable sources.

Johnsen said Water and Light is currently at about 1.8 percent and said the utility would likely hit its 3 percent limit for costs when 15 percent of the utility’s energy portfolio comes from renewable sources.

In other action, the council voted to approve an amendment to the city’s building codes to require that passive systems to mitigate the buildup of radon gas be built into newly constructed homes. A passive system consists of a vent pipe tall enough to stretch from below a house slab to above its roof to allow radon, which is generated from the breakdown of uranium in the soil, to escape.

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services estimates that a passive system costs between $150 and $300 when installed as part of new construction.

“I think it’s a small regulation, and I think it’s well worth the price,” McDavid said. Radon is believed to be the second-leading cause of lung cancer, after tobacco smoke.

The city’s Environment and Energy Commission recommended that the council adopt the requirement, but the city’s Building Construction Codes Commission suggested that all homes in the city be tested for the presence of radon rather than mandating mitigation systems in new houses.

Radon testing kits are offered free of charge by the Department of Health and Senior Services. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has concluded that long-term exposure to radon at a level of 4 picocuries per liter or more results in an increased risk of lung cancer. According to the latest figures from Health and Senior Services, the average home tested in Boone County had radon levels at 3.9 picocuries.

The council also voted to table a rezoning request to allow the construction of an 899-bed student apartment complex in east Columbia on Cinnamon Hill Lane until its Jan. 21 meeting. New York-based Park 7 Group proposes building the complex on a 43-acre tract near the intersection of Highway 63 and Stadium Boulevard. Neighbors living near the site have expressed opposition, saying the new complex would not be a good fit for the relatively quiet neighborhood and that it would bring increased traffic to the area.

The applicant for the rezoning requested that the matter be tabled because a representative for Park 7 was unable to travel to Columbia because of weather conditions, said Robert Hollis, an attorney for the developer.

Hollis also said there would likely be changes made to the request before it is brought to the council again.

This article was published in the Tuesday, January 7, 2014 edition of the Columbia Daily Tribune with the headline “Council increases green energy standards: Mayor, Nauser cast ‘no’ votes.”

© 2014 Columbia Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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on

Tuesday, January 7, 2014 2:00 pm.


Topics:

Columbia City Council,


United States Environmental Protection Agency,


Soil Contamination,


Radon,


Energy,


Energy Policy,


Renewable Portfolio Standard,


Renewable Energy,


Bob Mcdavid,


Fred Schmidt,


Laura Nauser,


Park 7 Group

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13 comments:



  • Mike Diel

    posted at 11:39 am on Tue, Jan 7, 2014.

    Mike_Diel
    Posts: 1



  • Don’t Believe Liberal Media

    posted at 12:01 pm on Tue, Jan 7, 2014.


    Posts: 1300



  • timkridel

    posted at 12:24 pm on Tue, Jan 7, 2014.


    Posts: 1056

    How many people have signed up for www.gocolumbiamo.com/WaterandLight/Electric/SolarOne.php? How many have stayed in the program? What’s the average number of blocks purchased? Those figures would help us understand how many citizens and businesses support renewable energy.

    It’s one thing to vote for an ordinance. It’s another to put your money where your beliefs are.

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  • Vanessa Hall

    posted at 12:50 pm on Tue, Jan 7, 2014.

    Vanessa
    Posts: 611

    the potential for increased costs to Water and Light customers as the utility seeks out more renewable sources. (quoted from the article)

    ****************

    So why not listen to Bill Weitkemper and start billing everyone according to the same rules?

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  • HCProvider

    posted at 1:22 pm on Tue, Jan 7, 2014.


    Posts: 390



  • Mark Foecking

    posted at 1:51 pm on Tue, Jan 7, 2014.

    dooberheim1
    Posts: 256

    Posted via Facebook: From:

    http://www.gocolumbiamo.com/WaterandLight/Documents/RenewReport2012DRAFT.pdf p. 8

    “In fiscal year 2011 the installations at the West Ash Water Pumping Station, Quaker Oats and Bright City Lights wererated at 36.8 kilowatts and produced 40,324 kilowatt hours of electricity. Subscriptions to the Solar One program raised $8,602.10 and the purchased power costs were $7,931.19.”

    $8,602.10/$3.35 per month/12 months per year is almost exactly 214 blocks. So that’s a maximum of 214 customers. That’s also 214 x 100 kwh/year or 21400 kwh, or slightly more than half of what was generated. The rest went on the city’s grid.

    100 kwh is about three days of average consumption. I wonder if people don’t think it’s worth bothering with, even if they otherwise support getting more renewable energy.

    I think the larger point is that electric costs can not rise more than 3% as a result of new renewable generation, so that will pretty much limit new capacity in the next few years. Council passed a standard that probably cannot be met under the current rules.

    DK

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  • timkridel

    posted at 2:15 pm on Tue, Jan 7, 2014.


    Posts: 1056



  • Mark Foecking

    posted at 2:46 pm on Tue, Jan 7, 2014.

    dooberheim1
    Posts: 256

    Posted via Facebook: There are also that handful of people that have installed their own systems, but you’re right in that not many people have gotten on board.

    The big issue I would be looking at if I were on the Council is what happened to the 10 MW installation that Free Power said it would have up and running by Sept of 2012. With issues like that I’m afraid we can’t be too optimistic about the RES (and if Free Power had done what it said, their selling price would be very similar to what the city’s cost is).

    DK

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  • billweitkemper

    posted at 3:45 pm on Tue, Jan 7, 2014.


    Posts: 78

    “There are a lot of middle-class families out there who are paying a lot for energy,” McDavid said.

    There sure are. Lets do something about it. Call me Mr. Mayor.

    • Link

     



  • Don’t Believe Liberal Media

    posted at 6:27 pm on Tue, Jan 7, 2014.


    Posts: 1300



  • Vanessa Hall

    posted at 6:56 pm on Tue, Jan 7, 2014.

    Vanessa
    Posts: 611



  • HCProvider

    posted at 9:16 pm on Tue, Jan 7, 2014.


    Posts: 390



  • Seileach_Corleigh

    posted at 11:38 pm on Tue, Jan 7, 2014.


    Posts: 2

    Thanks to our City Council for listening to the ideas of all of us who advocated for renewable energy, including Peoples’ Visioning! We thank the Councilmembers and the Water and Light Advisory Board for listening to Peoples’ Visioning’s request for significantly more renewable energy. While this increase is far less than we asked for and that we know is achievable with our Peoples’ Visioning ideas, we are certainly glad to see this forward movement.
    A little background: on December 3, 2012, a little over a year ago, Peoples’ Visioning came before City Council to request we raise our Renewable Energy Standard (RES) to a doable 80% by 2015. We offered examples of 4 different cities, in different circumstances, already, at that time, at 86%, 95% and 100% renewable energy. Our ideas were well-received by City Council and given a wider audience by a great editorial in the Columbia Missourian. Since then, we have continued on our own with Op-Eds, meetings, visits to City Staff and Boards and Commissions to impact this direction to eventually free, renewable, cleaner, far safer energy harvested right here in our community. In addition, we are still advocating for more locally produced solar and other clean renewable sources. We have a program for low-income and all income-brackets to be able to share in becoming producers of their own and our community’s cleaner, safer renewable energy sources, thereby lifting all boats while shifting the source of our public utility’s necessary energy purchases. It is obvious that it will help our individual families and broader community when we keep these purchase dollars here in our citizens’ pockets instead of sending those dollars out of the community to any other energy producers, usually for finite, dirtier, polluting and more price volatile fuel and energy sources.
    This is the picture we at Peoples’ Visioning have been painting for many in the community to help them envision and bring about for the betterment of our people and broader community. For more information about Peoples’ Visioning and our activities and goals, folks can check us out on Facebook or linked on the Columbia Climate Change Coalition website. We welcome your input and involvement!

    • Link

     

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