Gov. Jay Nixon signed an executive order on Wednesday, officially launching the development of a comprehensive state energy plan.
Speaking to reporters after a meeting of the Midcontinent Independent Service Operator (MISO) in St. Louis, Nixon said thanks to its reliance on coal, Missouri currently has the eighth lowest energy costs in the country. But with the rising costs of fossil fuels - and new federal regulations on coal-fired plants - Nixon said Missouri needs to adapt, or fall behind.
"For consumers to make sure they are getting the best bang for their buck on their energy dollars, it's important that we have a long-term plan," Nixon said.
Nixon said the plan, which was first announced in April, aims to reduce the state's carbon footprint while spurring new job creation and energy development.
According to the executive order, the plan will focus on:
Fuels and resource extraction
Energy-related land use
Energy pricing and rate-setting processes
Energy security and assurance
Energy resources in emergencies
Nixon stressed that the plan is intended to be as transparent as possible.
"At public forums throughout the state, this initiative will gather input from a broad array of Missourians, including consumers, public utilities, power producers, electric cooperatives, energy technology companies, researchers, environmental groups and business leaders," Nixon said.
Nixon said a goal of the state's energy plan will be to address the new limits on carbon dioxide emissions proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency. In meeting the limits, Nixon noted the importance of diversifying the state's energy portfolio, emphasizing nuclear energy in particular.
"We still are a state with not only a nuclear plant here that's had a great safety rating, but research reactors at both Mizzou and Rolla," Nixon said. "If that industry moves forward I think Missouri could still be a centerpiece."
Nixon said Missouri will have its new energy plan in place by the end of May 2015.