Washington, D.C.-based Advanced Energy Economy (AEE) – a national association of business leaders dedicated to making the global energy system more secure, clean, and affordable – released a policy brief on November 5 that suggests that opening the market to third-party energy suppliers would significantly expand private investment in Missouri.
The study, entitled “Expanding Missouri’s Corporate Renewable Energy Market,” finds that, by allowing companies statewide to contract directly with third-party suppliers of renewable energy, as they are able to do in many other states, and by raising the state’s “unusually low cap” on the size of installations that qualify for net metering, “Missouri can unleash its renewable energy potential and drive private investment, job creation, and economic growth.”
An increasing number of major corporations have set sustainability targets that involve powering their operations with renewable energy, the researchers said, pointing out that as of 2014, 43 percent of Fortune 500 companies and 60 percent of Fortune 100 companies had set climate and/or clean energy targets. A short list of those that have facilities in Missouri includes 3M, Cargill, Dow, General Mills, GM, IKEA, Microsoft, Nestle, Nike, Procter & Gamble, Sprint, Unilever, and Walmart.
However, the report finds, “Missouri’s current policy framework blocks its biggest corporate citizens from procuring renewable energy and helping to grow the state’s renewable energy market.”
Meeting just 1 percent of the energy needs of large corporate customers in Missouri with new wind and solar resources would drive approximately $220 million in project-related and induced economic development, according to the analysis, prepared by Boston-based Meister Consultants Group for AEE.
“Allowing third-party ownership and lifting the overly restrictive cap on net energy metering will create opportunities for Missouri to realize substantial economic benefits from renewable energy development,” states the policy brief.
“Missouri is poised to capture a share of the significant corporate purchasing that is driving expansion of renewable energy markets elsewhere in the country,” said Anna Giovinetto, senior director, State Industry Analysis for Advanced Energy Economy. “This report identifies policy solutions that don’t require government mandates. Rather, Missouri can position itself to capture the economic benefits of corporate renewable purchasing simply by eliminating outdated regulatory barriers.”