St. Louis sets 100 percent renewable energy goal; now at 5

By JIM SALTER Markets Associated Press

St. Louis aldermen have approved a measure committing the city to transition to 100 percent clean, renewable energy by 2035.

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The measure approved Friday calls for the city to develop a plan by December 2018 to meet the clean energy goal by working with residents, businesses, faith-based organizations, low-income advocates and others. St. Louis now gets 5 percent of its energy from clean, renewable sources, the Sierra Club said.

The Sierra Club said St. Louis joins 46 other cities across the U.S. committing to 100 percent clean energy, and is among the largest to do so. In the Midwest, Madison, Wisconsin, has made the same commitment. Four counties and the state of Hawaii have also made clean energy commitments.

Aldermanic President Lewis Reed said that with a presidential administration unwilling to recognize the legitimacy of climate change, "cities all across the country are going to have to begin leading the way to make sure that America does its part in terms of lowering carbon emissions and shifting our reliance off of so many fossil fuels."

The St. Louis vote "sends a powerful signal: even in communities with long ties to coal, the benefits of clean energy are too great to ignore," Sara Edgar, organizing manger of the Missouri chapter of the Sierra Club, said in a statement.

St. Louis is corporate headquarters for two of the nation's largest coal companies, Peabody Energy and Arch Coal. The utility company Ameren Missouri, which generates about two-thirds of its electricity from coal, is also based in St. Louis.

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Michael Moehn, president of Ameren Missouri, said the utility supports efforts by all customers, including government, to seek and receive more energy from renewable sources.

"We share the desire for renewable energy. That's why we're embracing new technologies and expanding service offerings that include a wide range of innovative and renewable energy solutions," Moehn said in a statement.

The region also has a history of air pollution that has required years of remediation efforts mandated by the Environmental Protection Agency.