When it comes to renewable energy, Missouri usually isn’t seen as a major player especially when compared to neighboring Kansas.
The Show-Me state produces wind energy but isn’t among the states ranked as having the best potential like Kansas. Missouri fares better when it comes to solar energy but is still viewed as being a step behind.
Missouri utilities are even looking outside of the state to help meet a mandate to use more renewable energy.
But if you’re planning on a having a pity party, don’t invite Stanley Bull, director of energy science and technology for MRIGlobal, the Kansas City research institute. He believes Missouri has great potential in producing renewable energy that someday could provide all the electricity the state uses.
“Missouri is in the running,” he said.
Bull has a more than a 40-year career in energy and has managed the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colo. He was in St. Louis recently to speak about renewable energy at the 5th annual Midwest Energy Policy Conference.
In an interview this week, he said he was confident about the future of renewable energy including in Missouri which can take advantage of wind, solar and geothermal energy. He expects a jump in activity over the next few years and in the long term after 2050 —self sufficiency in producing electricity is doable.
Northwest Missouri has already shown good potential in generating wind energy. But that industry is moving fast and is working on wind turbines that will be put on towers the length of a football field which will reach heights that have higher wind speed. There are still design and engineering issues but they’re coming and they’ll open up large swaths of Missouri to wind development.
“The (wind) industry is moving that way,” Bull said.
Geothermal is already “making a lot of sense” in Missouri. Geothermal takes advantage of stable underground temperatures for heating and cooling for residences and businesses.
The Midwest is not typically viewed as fertile ground for solar energy but it is as good as Germany which uses the most solar energy of any country. Missouri is already seeing more solar installations and that is expected to grow..
There are still technology obstacles for renewable energy as it expands especially how it can be stored when not immediately needed. But Bull says he believes that it will be possible rely on it including in Missouri with its wind, solar and geothermal resources.
‘In the long term, the combination could provide all the energy that Missouri needs,” he said.
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