City Utilities Hosts Public Hearing for Renewable Energy

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. Tuesday night, you were invited to ask questions and give your opinion on using more renewable energy in Springfield. 

It was an informational meeting without any formal presentation to talk about the future of our power supply.

“It’s informational about our integrative resource plan, which is where we look to the future for power supply planting, what resources we have today, and what resources we’ll need in the future, and it talks about the process that we go through,” said Chris Jones, associate general manager at City Utilities.

Jones said they use about 40% renewable energy and Springfield is one of the leading cities in Missouri in renewables.

“We want them to continue to be leaders in the renewable energy field here in Missouri, Springfield has a lot of wind coming from Oklahoma, and in Kansas,” said Kane Sheek, a community organizer at Sierra Club. 

Sheek said coal power plants are affecting our water supply.

“That landfill, no matter how many liners it has, could essentially just drop into the shallow aquifer, which supplies Springfield,” said Judy Dasovich, a physician, and chair at the Sierra Club White River Group.

“We are on coarse topography, which essentially means that our bedrock is kind of like swiss cheese, so it can open up to sink holes at any time. And with a coal ash landfill on course topography, you can run the risk of coal ash getting into our water supply,” Sheek said.

“That ash is full of heavy metals that are toxic,” explained Dasovich.

Dasovich said coal ash is known to be toxins to the nervous system, “and they’re particularly toxic to fetuses, infants, and children because they concentrate in those smaller bodies.”

Leaders at local renewable energy companies talk about not only the environmental benefits of renewals but also the economic benefits.

“Wind has become exponentially cheaper than coal, than nuclear, even solar,” said James Owen, executive director at Renew Missouri, “the fact that city utilities are invested so heavily into the wind is not because of some environmental value to it. They’re looking at it because it’s going to be able to bring rates down.”

This is the first of two meetings.

If you missed tonight’s meeting, the next one will be on March 27th, 5:00 P.M. at the Library Center.

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