To the editor:
As a longtime south county and Mehlville School District resident, I was extremely pleased, excited and overwhelmed at the recent news of the solar-energy project within the Mehlville School District.
The fact that our district is looking into a fiscally conservative renewable energy project, which is community driven, helps to ensure a sustainable future for Mehlville.
In fact, nothing is more conservative than being a good steward of our resources, which not only includes our natural resources but our tax dollars as well.
The most important aspect to me as a resident in the district is that this type of progressive thinking about energy will not only keep our long-term tax dollars spent on electricity under control, but will also help educate our students and future leaders about energy.
This will help students to understand statistics, the science of DC to AC conversion, earth science and ecology, and finally, faculty and staff development in energy efficiency.
Energy is our most important national security issue and one that does not actually have a policy nationally nor statewide. It would be tremendous if we, the residents of south county and the Mehlville School District, could actually develop a true energy strategy and policy within the district that not only looks at alternative energy sources but also encourages energy efficiency protocols and projects.
With Ameren Missouri’s electricity rates climbing more than 30 percent over the past number of years and another 15 percent on the near horizon, who can argue this is not a good move on the part of the Mehlville School District?
We should all understand those rates will only continue to rise, as will our tax dollars getting funneled to pay for electricity within our educational system.
Regardless of one’s viewpoint on sources of electricity, one thing is for sure — our demand for energy will continue to rise along with the costs.
For those concerned about the subsidies as a part of the announced solar lease, it should be understood that coal is the primary source of electricity in Missouri — more than 80 percent.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration stated in its annual report that the coal industry receives direct financial subsidies of more than $500 million annually from the federal government.
Therefore, every pound of coal that gets burned in the state of Missouri for electricity receives a subsidy.
Upon further evaluation comparing an “even playing field” in regard to subsidies, coal and renewable sources of energy are equivalent.
I congratulate (Superintendent) Dr. Eric Knost and the school board on their efforts to put Mehlville ahead of the curve in regard to energy policy.