So, I met with Ameren the other day, and it was a fascinating meeting. I’m not sure you care about the details as much as you care about the results, but I want to talk about energy in Callaway really quick.
This is the situation, Ameren has a handful of power plants, some coal, some innovative new technology plants (like power plants built to use waste at landfills to produce energy using the methane gas produced by the waste), nuclear (just one of those so far), wind and an assortment of renewables. It’s a fascinating business, and the technology that goes into these plants is downright astounding. Anyway, the coal plants, which produce most of the energy put out by Ameren are all near 40 years old. By the age of 60, over 90% of coal plants will go offline. That means, in 20 years, more or less, Missouri will have an energy crisis if we sit on our hands. And, although it seems like a long time, is not long at all when you consider how many hoops the government makes you jump through to get a new plant of any kind off the ground and working.
The point of the meeting was to get information on what Ameren is doing and what they’re working on to make energy in Missouri more efficient and affordable (Currently, Missouri ranks around 7th-ish in consumer energy prices in America. If you were to go on just Ameren’s rate payer pricing, and exclude all the co-ops and other energy companies that serve Missouri, we’d be the lowest rate payers in the nation, according to Ameren) while using new technologies that reduce waste and keep the environment clean. From what I saw, Ameren is providing energy at low rates and focusing on innovation for future energy needs. I’m planning on going to the nuke plant in Callaway for a visit in the very near future.
Currently, our state government/legislature (Excluding a couple of local politicians that have worked their tails off to fight to make the Callaway Two nuke plant a reality: Rep. Jeanie Riddle and Sen. Mike Kehoe) is punting the issue of an Early Site Permit (ESP) for Ameren from session to session. I don’t have time to go into the details of all of this, but the point is that an ESP is the first step in ensuring Ameren can move forward with building the Callaway Two nuke plant. The building of this plant would create thousands of jobs for decades! Yes, jobs for decades!
Also, the current Callaway plant provides state taxes throughout Missouri, affecting every county in the state. Just imagine your school district in Neosho or Sikeston or Linn or Moberly or St. Louis or KC or any other small or large town in MO, receiving tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars every year from the revenue distributed via taxes from another Callaway nuke plant. It would prevent these school districts from letting go of some of their teachers due to budget cuts, and worry about educating our children. And, this is only one benefit to building the Callaway Two.
What I’m getting at is that we need to make this happen. Ameren is a solid company, and they provide some of the cheapest energy in America as well as thousands of jobs across the state. Let’s make sure they can provide even more jobs to Missourians, and for decades, by moving the ESP legislation along so Ameren can move on with the project, which will take years to complete. Let’s not waste any more years while our legislators punt the issue to the next session, let’s get something done!