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St. Louis Commits to 100% Renewable Energy by 2035

Posted November 02, 2017 11:46 AM by Hannes
Pathfinder Tags: renewable energy st. louis

In early September lawmakers in St. Louis, Missouri passed a resolution committing to 100% renewable energy by 2035. According to the resolution, wind and solar would be the primary means for power generation. The city joins the growing list of other US cities committed to 100% renewable power.

Personally, it’s a little surprising to see St. Louis on the list of 100% renewable cities. Most larger metropolitan areas committed to full renewable sources are on the West Coast (San Jose, San Francisco, San Diego), although Atlanta, Madison, WI and Greensburg, KS have also committed. As of 2012, St. Louis’s energy mix is dominated by coal and nuclear—only 4.2% comes from renewable sources. The city clearly has a long way to go in a short time to meet the goal.

But upon closer inspection the potential for renewable power in St. Louis looks healthy. A 2004 NREL solar radiation map shows that Missouri has the potential for decent solar development—not as much as the Southwest or West Texas, but much more promising than the Northeast US. Wind power potential tells a similar story, as shown below: wind speeds at 80 meters average around 6 m/s in eastern Missouri, slightly better than the national average but not quite as windy as the Great Plains to the west.

Another potential renewables resource curiously absent from the city’s plan is hydropower development on the Mississippi River. A 2012 report by the US Department of Energy found that the Melvin Price Locks and Dam—located on the Mississippi only 17 miles from St. Louis—is #5 on the list of US non-powered dams in terms of untapped hydropower potential. The DoE estimates that the Melvin Price Dam could generate 1.4 million MWh per year and has an estimated potential capacity of nearly 300 MW.

Aside from renewable resources, St. Louis has the additional advantage of having a small city proper and large metro area. The independent city of St. Louis had an estimated population of only 311,000 in 2016; for comparison, Greater St. Louis—which consists of 11 Missouri and Illinois counties—has a population of nearly 3 million. Supplying power to a compact, manageable city (which has unfortunately been shrinking since the 1950s) is theoretically easier than with a large, sprawling metro area.

The resolution passed in September doesn’t legally hold the city to meeting their goal, but it does lay plans for future legislation and development for a city looking to at least diversify away from coal.

Image credit: NREL

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#1

Re: St. Louis Commits to 100% Renewable Energy by 2035

11/02/2017 1:49 PM

Well, the hard part is over, passing the resolution.

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#2

Re: St. Louis Commits to 100% Renewable Energy by 2035

11/02/2017 6:49 PM

"The resolution passed in September doesn’t legally hold the city to meeting their goal, . . ."

Doesn't sound like much of a commitment. I would file this one under "platitudes".

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#6
In reply to #2

Re: St. Louis Commits to 100% Renewable Energy by 2035

11/03/2017 10:36 AM

I'll meet your 'platitudes', and raise you with 'Good Intentions'.

And that not only makes me feel like I'm not only doing something about this... It makes me feel like I'm a better person than you.

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#3

Re: St. Louis Commits to 100% Renewable Energy by 2035

11/02/2017 7:06 PM

Should'a just passed out bumper stickers...

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#4

Re: St. Louis Commits to 100% Renewable Energy by 2035

11/03/2017 5:18 AM

At the rate people are leaving the City of St. Louis there won't be anyone around to need the energy.
It would be nice if the whole St. Louis metro area City and County was in on this plan but this resolution is only for the City of St. Louis a small portion of the overall metro area.

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#5

Re: St. Louis Commits to 100% Renewable Energy by 2035

11/03/2017 10:26 AM

ADMIN - phone number removed

From the Rules: Do not post phone numbers or email addresses. The Admin will delete all phone numbers and email addresses posted in threads or comments. You can share this information via the forum's internal messaging system.

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#7

Re: St. Louis Commits to 100% Renewable Energy by 2035

11/03/2017 11:03 AM

Sounds like if they put wind turbines on the blowholes of the city council, they have it covered.

Windbags.

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#8

Re: St. Louis Commits to 100% Renewable Energy by 2035

11/08/2017 11:45 PM

Certainly no scientists or engineers in St. Louis government. I hope they can peddle on small generators as there is no way to achieve this goal, note not mandate.

More people will leave the city. It's unsafe already. I feel sad for the remaining residents.

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#9

Re: St. Louis Commits to 100% Renewable Energy by 2035

11/09/2017 9:26 AM

The Modern St. Louis, Urban "Modest Proposal" is Very Achievable

This goal is not difficult at all. You have to read between the lines to understand the completely workable strategy. Any ICE car cannot be allowed in a 100% renewable energy city so they are banning gasoline and hybrid vehicles. That move will keep any person with an internal combustion engine vehicle from ever returning to the city once they drive their car beyond the city limits. This gets rid of about 68% of the population. They will have to raise both energy prices and taxes massively to fund "forward looking investment in renewables" which will get rid of another 23% of people who will not be able to afford their heating bill. The ones who remain are mostly either politicians or thieves(maybe the distinction is moot) with the exception of the 4.8% who are dying of old age or who will be driven out by the soaring crime rate by 2035. So, poof, only 4.2% of the original population remain in the city proper and the current renewable energy production(you may not ask what happened to the renewables investment dollars) magically supports that 4.2%. The politicians believe themselves above any law for the unwashed masses and will not tally their own obscenely prodigal non-renewable energy use, all via "perfectly legal" special exemptions. And Bob's-your-uncle, the goal is achieved. QED

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#10
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Re: St. Louis Commits to 100% Renewable Energy by 2035

11/09/2017 9:39 AM

lol,... sure,...I'll weigh in...

What didn't they just move St. Louis to the Death Valley... sounds easier.

The politicians believe themselves above any law for the unwashed masses and will not tally their own obscenely prodigal non-renewable energy use, all via "perfectly legal" special exemptions.

And of course before the politicians passed these,... reforms. I would speculate that these same politicians made sure that they are exempt for the very reforms they passed.

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#11
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Re: St. Louis Commits to 100% Renewable Energy by 2035

11/09/2017 11:12 AM

phoenix911,

You are prone to understatement. The "modern" politician passes laws to create a dependent class(eg. the Diversity Visa Program) of politically obligated voters. These voters are tossed crumbs from the political exemption table so that ultimately huge numbers of drones(look up honeybees) overwhelm the political base and cement the ruling class into permanent fascist power over the highly endangered species called taxpayers. Marx recognized this as a fundamental instability inherent in Democracy and our greedy(yes, I realize that is now redundant) politicians of the two entrenched political parties are hell-bent on proving him right. I have argued for decades that Democracy does not have to degenerate into fascism this way but it seems I am arguing with the tape(obsolete individualists' reference to capitalism .) The die was probably cast when the Bill of Rights was corrupted with the amendment establishing the personal income tax. The BOR was supposed to enumerate the only powers held by the federal government and to ensconce inalienable rights of the people. With the personal income tax bill it instead became the instrument of conversion from democracy to fascism in a glacially slow and painfully malignant fashion. Ultimately, it enables the government to make you pay for(own is the euphemism) what they actually control which is the fundamental definition of fascism.

Some will argue that corporate capitalism is at fault and they are right except that corporations do not operate under capitalism once they begin to lobby. They are then socialist and well on their way to an unholy union with fascist government.

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#12
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Re: St. Louis Commits to 100% Renewable Energy by 2035

11/09/2017 11:46 AM

Understatement is correct.

politicians are created a class dependent upon the government that keeps them in office. a bad form of synergy.

And the term fascism is an overused and abused term.

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#13
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Re: St. Louis Commits to 100% Renewable Energy by 2035

11/09/2017 1:01 PM

BTW, my favorite definition of socialist is one who is bright enough to realize that someone else is more capable of running the government than they are. That alone might be an OK position but then they generalize it to say that everyone else should realize the same thing and concede complete control someone who ostensibly is a socialist, too. Now, if that candidate were really a socialist they would believe that someone else is more capable of running the government than they are. Therefore, our "socialist" candidate proves by their candidacy that they either are a baldface prevaricator(they lie and are not really a socialist) or that they want to run the government even though they are not the most capable and altruistic person for the job. Instead, they are the ones who are foolish and/or evil enough to think that running a government is trivially easy and very rewarding without commensurate effort.

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#14

Re: St. Louis Commits to 100% Renewable Energy by 2035

11/09/2017 3:06 PM

The key issue with wind and solar power is the need to somehow stabilise the network, from the fluctuations these sorts of power generation facilities bring, and to have a "base load" generation facility that will provide power when generation by these means is not possible. The hydro-generation facility could help with this but generally there has to be some form of massive storage system to cater for the days and nights when power generation is not possible. Adding to this, base load facilities run most efficiently when at their designed load. Starting them up and shutting them down because of fluctuating demand for their services, brings with it huge power bills.

Whatever they do, they should do it gradually and always make sure their storage capacity will eliminate the adverse effects of "renewables".

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#16
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Re: St. Louis Commits to 100% Renewable Energy by 2035

11/10/2017 9:18 AM

Kevin,

Since peak leveling is something our technologies can effectively address you are on a course with excellent return on investment(ROI.) We have devices which can allow us to source energy from multiple(wind over here, solar over there, hydro at the dam, natural gas generator instead of flaring at the wellhead,...) generation points. We have off-the-shelf means of generating adequately synchronized 60cycle power even on a fairly small scale(IGBTs with smart controllers.) So, even individuals can contribute to grid power with a moderate investment in equipment. Some power companies today accept power from small fry generation systems. This is great because rather than storing energy you simply use the grid as a way of burning less fossil fuel or releasing less water from a reservoir because you have these small generation capacity contributors. This is a well-known opportunity which can with friendly government and power company policies yield large benefit. As long as a fuel/hydro/nuclear heavy grid is available we can choose to keep those energy sources in the bank while we dynamically level power from renewable sources. All this is technically well understood but still under implemented socially.

Ultimately, the overwhelming issue is a finite amount of radiant energy from the sun intercepted by the tiny angle the earth presents to the sun being unable to keep up with an energy hungry population with social incentives to grow as though there is no limit. Our social policies are doomed until governments cease viewing babies and immigrants as new voters and churches cease viewing them as contributors or more souls to save. Individuals have maladaptive opinions like "saving lives is the ultimate good intention" and "going forth and multiplying" is what God wants us to do. Until mercy killing is sanitized(done without fear of evil intent) and couples having their third baby are no longer congratulated, this problem will accelerate. These are not small changes to public opinion and the current norms have massive inertia. Those trying to save the planet are spitting in the wind unless they address a finite earth and a geometric population curve. While social practices economically reward excessive fecundity we are inevitably headed for practical consequences which are far more unpleasant than producing fewer babies: pollution, energy shortage, overcrowding, increasing disease and pandemic plagues, mental aberrations(lemmings), civil strife, war,... Developed nations are currently in denial with their observations that they are near replacement fertility rate because they continue to welcome immigrants from pools with far higher growth rates. These are all well known facts since at least the sixties with Erlich's The Population Bomb book. It appears to me that we still have not assimilated the message and I submit the US government's recent noises about increasing the personal exemption as prima facia evidence. Technological solutions represent a profound misunderstanding of the core problem and are IMHO worthless or worse(false hope) until these social values get fixed. I have shifted my rhetoric toward discouraging all but those with near term significant ROI as I show in the top paragraph of this post. I am even concerned about that concession. St. Louis is whacking a tar-baby and IMHO just exacerbating the problem by driving it into their suburbs.

thewildotter

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#15

Re: St. Louis Commits to 100% Renewable Energy by 2035

11/09/2017 10:48 PM

Wouldn't 100% renewables ultimately be the equivalent of a perpetual motion machine?

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