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News Brief

Nov. 1, 2023 |  By: Farah Siddiqi - Public News Service

MO's 3 biggest energy utilities earn Ds, Fs in Dirty Truth report on clean energy


By Farah Siddiqi - Public News Service

The three major energy utilities in Missouri have received poor marks in the Sierra Club's recent Dirty Truth report, indicating a lack of progress in clean-energy efforts.

Evergy's score dropped from 18 to 9, resulting in an F grade. Ameren Missouri's rating decreased to 31, earning a D.

The Associated Electric Cooperative maintained its score at zero. Ameren's recent energy plan, released after the data collection for the report, would likely have further lowered its score.

According to Gretchen Waddell Barwick, chapter director of the Missouri Sierra Club, these utilities are putting Missourians' health and finances at risk.

She said they are slow to transition from coal and outdated strategies to cleaner and renewable energy solutions.

"These are not the actions of a good neighbor," said Barwick. "These are the actions of greedy corporate folks who are trying to squeeze every penny out of consumers. The talking point we constantly hear is cost, cost, cost, and it just doesn't hold up anymore."

Nationally, utilities scored an overall grade of D, with 43% showing no progress or receiving lower scores compared to the previous year.

The Sierra Club assigned utilities scores based on their plans in three areas: commitments to retire coal by 2030, plans to build gas through 2030, and plans to build or purchase clean energy by 2030.

Noah Ver Beek - energy campaigns analyst with the Sierra Club Beyond Coal Campaign - emphasized that the utilities aren't taking advantage of federal money that could help.

He said the Inflation Reduction Act is a game changer - and through this law, utilities can receive support that can lower costs for a clean-energy project up to 50%.

"To build out more wind and solar and storage," said Ver Beek. "And at the same time, we see it lower utility bills for Americans that's going to increase reliability - as we put people to work building solar panels, building solar projects and wind projects. But we're not seeing a lot of ambition from utilities, even with all this new money."

Sierra Club data finds the nearby Public Service Company of Oklahoma received an A-plus on the scorecard for the last two years.

The report identifies the Oklahoma utility as showing it's possible to retire coal plants before 2030, a contrast to the big Missouri utilities.