The new proposed EPA standard has generated a lot of chatter in the local business community. Kansas City businesses are wondering how the proposed standard would affect their bottom line and their ability to remain competitive. The good news? Due to forward thinking of Missouri voters and the progressive work of Missouri electricity providers, Missouri is already ahead of schedule and should have no problem meeting and even exceeding the new standard.
For some background, the EPA established states’ targets through a series of four building blocks – improved coal-plant efficiency, using existing natural gas, increasing low-carbon energy sources like wind and solar, and ramping up energy efficiency programs. Missouri will need to make an overall reduction of 21% from a 2012 baseline. The state could use some, all, or none of these building blocks in developing a cost-effective solution to meeting their goals. Simply put: EPA’s guidelines provide Missouri flexibility to choose the best system to meet its 2020 and 2030 carbon reduction targets.
Missouri’s existing clean energy policies put the state ahead of schedule and allow for even greater emissions reductions than required for compliance by the Clean Power Plan. If fully implemented, these initiatives will put the state nine years ahead of the schedule outlined by the EPA in the new Clean Power Plan. Missouri already has more stringent goals and targets in place; the state has a goal of reaching 15% generation from renewables by 2021 and offsetting 9.9% of electricity sales with energy efficiency by 2020. In effect, Missouri could achieve a carbon intensity reduction in 2021 equivalent to what the EPA is requiring for compliance by 2030.
The news is even better when it comes to Kansas City. Kansas City is leading through energy efficiency programs such KCP&L utility programs and the City Energy Project, demonstrating that efficiency and city-based efforts can contribute significantly to achieving Missouri’s Clean Power Plan goals. A recently signed Kansas City Power and Light agreement will deliver $34 million in benefits to Missourians over the next 18 months while directly helping to meet the new Clean Power Plan goals for the state. The agreement includes energy efficiency services, helping customers avoid wasting money on unnecessary power. The combined savings for customers in the Kansas City Region will reach nearly 300,000 in megawatt-hours over the plan lifespan, equivalent to the electricity needed to power more than 20,000 homes in Missouri for a year. KCP&L’s new plan will also help the state prevent over 101,000 tons of carbon pollution, equivalent to taking 21,000 cars off the road for a year while saving money on customers’ electricity bills and creating local jobs for Missourians.
On Friday, Mayor Sly James, Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Jim Heeter, and Chuck Caisley with KCP&L will hold a joint press conference to talk about Kansas City’s energy efficiency efforts and how the city is far ahead of the game when it comes to energy efficiency and carbon reductions. Having the local utility, the local business community and the local elected leadership is significant; Kansas City is positioned well to not only comply with the new standards but exceed them. This is good news for Kansas City business – lower utility costs, local job creation and a significant improvement to local air quality.