Columbia exceeded its renewable energy goals in 2018, and has plans to continue meeting its goals as the requirements increase over the years.
According to a report released by Columbia Water and Light, the city provided 15.65 percent of electric energy from renewable sources in 2018.
The push for renewables is part of an ordinance passed in 2004 that requires Columbia Water and Light to purchase increasing amounts of renewable energy supplies. The city has to meet a requirement of 15 percent, which rose from 5 percent in 2017. The goal increases to 25 percent in 2022, and 30 percent by 2028.
Last year, Columbia’s renewable electric energy came from 12.34 percent wind, 3.24 percent landfill gas and 0.12 percent solar. The cost of the energy in 2018 was $2.4 million, according to the report. The ordinance also requires that the purchase not impact prices more than 3 percent, or about $3 million.
Ward 5 City Council member Matt Pitzer said the city has met the requirements every year. He said one thing that’s helped is a dropping price tag.
“The price of renewables has just declined so dramatically over the last several years,” Pitzer said. “Advances in technology have really improved not only the efficiency of the power system but have just driven the cost down.”
Assistant Director of Utilities Ryan Williams said the city is on track to meet the goals by continuing to add renewable energy power. City Council approved a purchase of 10 megawatts of solar in December 2018. There is also a pending contract with Missouri Joint Municipal Electric Utility to bring 35 megawatts of wind energy from western Kansas, expected in 2021.
A fourth landfill gas generator is also being constructed. But because one of the generators caught fire on Dec. 8, 2018, the amount of energy produced from the plant might be reduced in 2019, according to the report.
Williams said the 2019 energy report will be reviewed by Columbia Water and Light, City Council and the Environment Commission in March or April.