During an address to an annual renewable energy conference at the University of Missouri in Columbia today, Gov. Jay Nixon announced that the Missouri Department of Economic Development’s Division of Energy will lead a statewide initiative to develop a comprehensive energy plan for the state. In public meetings across the state, the initiative will solicit input from energy stakeholders including consumers, businesses, public utilities, renewable energy companies, academic researchers and environmental advocates.
“From heating our homes, to lighting our skylines, to powering our factories, to fueling our cars and trucks, energy has a huge impact on our environment and our economy,” Gov. Nixon said. “Today it is clear that meeting our need for clean, affordable, abundant energy in the future will require a diverse energy portfolio and a strategic approach. That is why I am charging our Division of Energy with leading the development of a comprehensive energy plan that will engage stakeholders throughout the state and chart a course toward a sustainable and prosperous energy future.”
To lead this effort, Gov. Nixon named Lewis R. Mills, who currently heads the Office of Public Counsel, as the new director of the division. Mills has over twenty years of experience in public utility regulation and has served as both a consumer advocate as well as a state regulator. From 1998 to 2005, Mills was a deputy chief administrative law judge at the Missouri Public Service Commission.
The Governor also named Kristy Manning as the Division of Energy’s Deputy Director of Policy. Manning has served as the Deputy Legislative Director in the Office of the Governor since 2009 and previously worked as a legislative aide in the Missouri Senate. Llona Weiss will stay on as the Division’s Deputy Director for Administration.
Over the past five years, Gov. Nixon has made clean, affordable and abundant energy a priority of his administration. Missouri state agencies have reduced energy use by more than 22 percent since the Governor signed an executive order in 2009 directing agencies to reduce their energy use by two percent each year. The Governor also signed the Energy Efficiency Investment Act to give investor-owned utilities an incentive to implement energy efficiency programs, which protect the environment and hold down costs for consumers.
Since 2009, renewable energy production in Missouri has increased by more than 1 million megawatt-hours, or nearly 500 percent, while electricity costs have remained low.
In 2010, the Governor’s Strategic Initiative for Economic Growth identified “Energy Solutions” as one of seven target industries with the highest potential for creating jobs and spurring economic growth. Last year, in recognition of energy’s unique and growing importance to the state’s economy, Gov. Nixon issued an executive order realigning the Division of Energy from the Department of Natural Resources to the Department of Economic Development, which the General Assembly approved.