SPRINGFIELD, Mo. The future of Springfield’s energy source is currently under discussion, and your opinion can make a difference.
Wednesday night, City Utilities held their second public meeting to see what the public thinks about potentially closing coal plants around town.
People KOLR10 spoke to said they think it’s a good idea to use more renewable energy.
KOLR10 also spoke to local environmental protection groups who said they would like to see Springfield completely eliminate coal plants in the near future.
“Long-range planning for utilities is very important,” explained Andy Knott, campaign representative for the Sierra Club, “especially for the municipal utility, this is a utility that’s owned by the voters of Springfield.”
Knott said it’s important to have a solid energy plan for the next couple of decades, “we do think that city utilities need to accelerate the retirement of burning coal and continue its cleaning investments.”
Knott said their biggest concern is the continued use of coal plants, “the water under the landfill comes out in springs nearby, and Wilson’s Creek, so we feel that city utilities need to reduce the amount of coal ash its producing. And the best way of doing that is to retire the coal units on a faster schedule than they’re currently planning.”
Springfield is currently one of the leading cities in Missouri with clean energy sources.
“We’re right around 40% renewable,” explained Joel Alexander, manager of media and energy service at City Utilities, “we have quite a bit of wind resources right now, we have our own solar farm we had in place for about four or five years, and we’ve had hydro on the portfolio for several years.”
Alexander said they want to continue leading in renewables, but they need to look at alternatives too, “sometimes that renewable energy isn’t always the most reliable, so we need to make sure we have reliable ways to back that up, times where the sun isn’t shining, or the wind may not be blowing. Do we look at ways to store that energy? Are those ways coming along? And how do we look at doing that.”
If you missed Wednesday’s meeting but want to contribute ideas you can e-mail City Utilities at email@example.com.